South African Rand coins are seen in this photo illustration
Johannesburg - The rand firmed on Thursday after new Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba pledged to work to keep the country from a third credit downgrade to junk status.

Meanwhile, at 5pm on Monday, the rand was bid at R13.3195 to the dollar, 36.19c firmer than at the same time last Wednesday.

Gigaba, who took over from Pravin Gordhan in a cabinet reshuffle that triggered credit downgrades to sub-investment by S&P Global Ratings and Fitch, told local investors he would meet ratings firm Moody’s to persuade it he would stay on the path of fiscal discipline.

Meanwhile, stocks were a bit softer on Thursday, as investors booked some profits before the long Easter weekend, which saw markets closed on Friday and yesterday.

The benchmark JSE Top40 index ended down 0.22 percent at 46644.49 points, while the broader all share index closed 0.08percent lower at 53510.22 points.

Gold producers also got a lift after the precious metal’s spot price hit a five-month high on comments by President Donald Trump, who said he preferred lower interest rates and that the greenback was “too strong”.

Gold Fields gained 6.63 percent to R55.51, while Sibanye Gold added 6.43 percent to close at R35.40.