FILE PHOTO: South African Rand coins are seen in this photo illustration
THE RAND hit a seven-week low against the dollar yesterday after the ANC proposed at a policy conference to nationalise the central bank and expropriate land without compensation. The rand traded at R13.4396 to the dollar at 5pm, the weakest since May18.

But the weaker currency sparked demand for shares in local companies that earn the bulk of the profit overseas, pushing the benchmark JSE index nearly 1percent higher. TreasuryOne currency dealer, Andre Botha, said the rand had been pressured by a stronger dollar earlier in the session and extended losses after reports that the ANC had agreed that the central bank should be state-owned.

The ANC also proposed that land expropriation without compensation should be allowed where it is “necessary and unavoidable”.

The party’s proposal on the central bank is likely to raise concerns about the independence of the Reserve Bank after an anti-graft watchdog recommended its mandate be changed to place more focus on growth and not just inflation and the rand currency.

On the bourse, the blue chip Top40 index added 0.92percent at 42241.44 points and the broader all share index was up 0.84percent at 52483.9 points.

Companies such British American Tobacco (BATS), drugmaker Aspen Pharmancare and foodservice firm Bidcorp were in demand thanks to a weaker rand.

BATS was up 2.91percent at R914.83, Aspen climbed 2.53percent to R297.84 and Bidcorp picked up 4.5percent to end the session at R316.65. These companies earn the bulk of the profits offshore and are considered safe bets when the rand weakens.