With the dollar slipping against a basket of currencies yesterday amid concerns that Republican plans for major US tax cuts could be delayed, some emerging currencies found a foothold.
At 5.31pm, the rand traded at R14.1725 to the dollar, 0.44percent firmer than its New York close on Tuesday.
The fragile domestic economy has hurt the rand in recent weeks, with the currency struggling to return to levels below the R14 against the greenback mark achieved before Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba released bleak budget forecasts on October25.
The International Monetary Fund yesterday urged South Africa to implement reforms to restore confidence in the economy soon.
In fixed income, the yield for the benchmark government bond due in 2026 rose 8 basis points to 9.27percent.
On the stock market, the benchmark JSE Top40 index declined 0.19percent to 53730.6 points, while the broader all share index fell 0.17percent to 60078.03 points.
Steinhoff International, which has its primary listing in Frankfurt, was the biggest loser among the blue chips.
The firm’s JSE-listed shares dropped to a 10-week low after Reuters reported the company did not tell investors about almost $1billion (about R14.17bn) in transactions with a related company despite laws that some experts believe require it to do so.
“It’s a black cloud for them. Anything that has a negative bearing on reputation, the market will punish you for it,” said Independent Securities trader, Ryan Woods.
Steinhoff dropped to R56 in early trading, but recovered to R59.30, closing 4.2percent weaker than its closing price on Tuesday.
E-commerce firm Naspers shed 2.03percent to R3558.99, pausing a rally which saw the stock reaching another record high on Tuesday. Shares in Naspers, which holds a third of China’s TenCent, are up 80percent so far this year.
Meanwhile, Wall Street was trading slightly lower yesterday as bank stocks came under pressure from a near-flat Treasury yield curve.