File image: IOL
File image: IOL

JOHANNESBURG - The South African currency continued to strengthen during the European session on Wednesday, dropping just below the R14/$ threshold according to NKC Research.

This is despite the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry reporting that business sentiment slumped to the lowest level in seven months in March. However, the local unit was buoyed by a further easing in US-China trade tensions. Furthermore, traders continued to digest the March US CPI release and the ECB’s dovish remarks, which were supportive of risk sentiment. At close of local trade, the rand quoted 1.1 percent stronger at R13.92/$, after trading in range of R13.91/$ - R14.09/$. The rand traded little changed overnight. Expected range today R13.88/$ - R14.03/$.

South African bourse

The JSE All Share (+0.8 percent) ended higher yesterday led by gains in large general retail (+3.3 percent) and banking (+2.1 percent) shares. In the overall emerging market sphere, the MSCI Emerging Market Index (+0.2 percent) traded higher. In local news, Sibanye-Stillwater (-17.6 percent) raised $120m from a share placement via an accelerated bookbuild.

Brent crude oil

The Brent oil price traded higher yesterday, amid concerns over a further slump in Venezuelan output and an ongoing conflict in Libya, but pessimism over global economic growth kept a lid on gains. At the close of local trade, benchmark Brent crude futures quoted 0.5 percent higher at $71.14pb. Crude prices remained elevated during Asian trade this morning.

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