UPDATE 1-South Africa's rand retreats from six-week high

  • Reuters
  • Forex News
UPDATE 1-South Africa's rand retreats from six-week high

(Adds latest figures, analyst quotes)

JOHANNESBURG, April 9 (Reuters) - The South African rand retreated from a six-week peak on Friday, taking a breather after dovish signals from the U.S. Federal Reserve spurred a rally in riskier assets.

At 1500 GMT the rand ZAR=D3 traded at 14.5825 against the dollar, 0.38% weaker than its previous close. It had rallied to 14.4475 on Thursday, its strongest since Feb. 24, but again failed to hold below the 14.50 psychological level.

"That the ZAR was not able to use this momentum to gain against the greenback suggests speculator sentiment towards the local unit remains somewhat cautious," said economists at ETM Analytics.

"Most of its recent resilience and relative strength rooted in real trade flows rather than a more positive outlook on South Africa's reform prospects."

Most emerging market currencies rose this week on weakness in the dollar and U.S. treasury yields, especially after minutes from the Fed's latest meeting showed that the bank was in no hurry to tighten monetary policy.

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

Government bonds also weakened, with the yield on the benchmark instrument due in 2030 ZAR2030= up 11.5 basis points at 9.335%.

In the equities market, the Johannesburg All-Share index .JALSH closed 0.2% stronger at 67,191 points, while the Top-40 index .JTOPI rose 0.25% to 61,458 points, tracking gains in global stocks which hit record highs on Friday. MKTS/GLOB

The third top gainer was investment company RMB Holdings RMHJ.J which rose 7.69% after it said it would be returning capital committed to the development of a new hub for business to shareholders as a special dividend as conditions for that development were not met by the March 31 deadline.

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