File image: IOL

JOHANNESBURG - The rand barely moved yesterday, with lower global prices for gold eating into early gains as worries over military tensions between the US and North Korea that have hurt risk assets eased.

At 5pm, the rand was bid at R12.9365 to the dollar, less than a cent softer than at the same time on Friday.

The currency traded as strongly as R12.8675 early in the session but backtracked to just above the R12.90 technical support mark as a dearth of local data and a near 1% slide in spot gold prices dimmed demand.

The dollar index rose 0.42% on the day, edging away from Friday’s two-and-a-half year low.

Volatility indicators showed bearish sentiment developing following a rally that saw the rand gain around 5% in the last month, with worries about the country’s fiscal position creeping back into the short term outlook.

Finance Minster Malusi Gigaba said yesterday the economy was likely to miss the government’s growth target of 1.3% for this year despite recent data showing it had shaken off a technical recession.

Bonds weakened, with the yield on the benchmark 2026 issue up.

Meanwhile, stocks rose, led by gains in Naspers

The JSE Top40 index gained 0.72% to 49627.54 points, while the all share index lifted 0.51% to 56008.77 points.

E-commerce group Naspers, which has a one-third stake in Hong Kong listed Tencent, was up 3.1% to R2952.65 on the back of gains in the Chinese internet company.

Further gains on the bourse were curbed by gold shares, such as AngloGold Ashanti which retreated 5.62% to R129.89.

-REUTERS