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UPDATE 1-S.Africa's rand weaker but set for weekly gains; retailers and gold disappoint

Published 2020/11/27, 18:24
Updated 2020/11/27, 18:30
© Reuters.
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(Updates rand, bonds; adds stocks)

JOHANNESBURG, Nov 27 - South Africa's rand weakened on Friday but was still on course to end the week higher, buoyed by earlier momentum from positive news on COVID-19 vaccines that has boosted hopes of a swift global economic recovery.

At 1612 GMT, the rand ZAR=D3 traded at 15.2575 against the U.S. dollar, 0.31% weaker than its New York close on Thursday, when it trimmed gains as investors turned their attention back to the grim outlook for the local economy. currency has firmed more than 1 % this week, building on gains from growing global risk appetite.

"The dollar faces a weekly decline as risk appetite continues to improve, even amidst a global jump in COVID-19 cases," Peregrine Treasury Solutions said in a note.

Optimism around progress towards vaccines against the coronavirus and the outcome of the U.S. presidential election supported the rand, even as South Africa's sovereign ratings were downgraded further into "junk" territory. this optimism began to stall amid doubts about the effectiveness and distribution of the vaccines, high hospitalisations in the United States and elsewhere, and concerns about the economic impact of lockdowns. also weakened, with the Johannesburg All-Share index .JALSH dipping 0.17% to 57,822 points, while the Top 40 index .JTOPI slipped 0.12% to 53,021 points, weighed down by gold stocks and weak trading updates.

The gold index .JGLDX fell 2.27% as the bullion price edged down on Friday as the hopes for a vaccine and a rebound in economic growth dulled demand for the safe-haven asset. GOL/

Mall owner Liberty Two Degrees L2DJ.J was also among the decliners, falling 3.18% after it said its full-year distributable earnings are expected to be between 55% and 60% lower. stocks .JGERE also weakened on this Black Friday as shoppers appeared a bit more cautious with purchases.

"Retailers are a little bit softer on first reports, including from international markets, that in-store presence at retailers is a lot less impressive than in previous years," said Paul Theron, founder and CEO of Vestact asset management.

Government bonds weakened, with the yield on the instrument due in 2030 ZAR2030= rising by 7 basis points to 8.96%.

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