UPDATE 1-South Africa's rand hits 15-month high, stocks muted

  • Reuters
  • Forex News
UPDATE 1-South Africa's rand hits 15-month high, stocks muted
Credit: © Reuters.

(Updates rand , bonds; adds stocks)

JOHANNESBURG, April 15 (Reuters) - South Africa's rand rallied to its best in 15 months on Thursday, extending gains from the previous session supported by strong risk appetite and positive local retail sales data.

At 1505 GMT the rand ZAR=D3 was 1.56% firmer at 14.1650 against the U.S. dollar, trading at its highest level since early January 2020.

The dollar has been on the back foot this month as Treasury yields stabilize below one-year highs reached last month. Yields have fallen as the U.S. Federal Reserve reiterates its commitment to holding rates near zero for years to come, and on some concerns that a recent uptick in inflation will be temporary. the greenback to resume this year's uptrend, it requires strong positive surprises on the economic front that convince investors again of increasing inflationary pressures," said FXTM chief market strategist Hussein Sayed.

Lower U.S. interest rate expectations boost investors' appetite for emerging markets assets such as the rand, which offer higher returns but carry more risk.

Locally, retail sales rose for the first time in 11 months in February, defying forecasts of another downturn. helped set the stage for the rand's rally.

Bonds also firmed, with the yield on the benchmark 2030 government issue down 10.5 basis points to 9.105%.

Stocks on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) were largely unchanged as strong earnings from the U.S. market were offset by South Africa pausing the use of Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ )'s COVID-19 vaccines to investigate a potential link to rare blood clots.

The FTSE/JSE all-share index .JALSH closed 0.02% higher at 67,823 points. The JSE's bluechip index .JTOPI slipped 0.01% to end at 72,080 points.

However, the bank index .JBANK , which largely depends on local economic growth prospects, shot up well beyond 2% but was offset by the mining index .JRESI and industrials .JINDI which were down by 0.3% and 0.2%, respectively.

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