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The rand retreated from a five-month high on Friday as risk appetite subdued, but was on track for weekly gains after expectations the US Federal Reserve would cut interest rates had stoked demand for the currency.

At 5pm on Friday, the rand bid at R14.0321 to the dollar, 9 cents softer than at the same time on Thursday, retreating from a five-month high of R13.82 reached earlier in the session.

Also helping the currency in the week were media reports on Thursday that state asset manager Public Investment Corporation might consider converting the $6.4 billion (about R89bn) debt of struggling state power utility Eskom to equity.

Market focus is now on the South African Reserve Bank’s monetary policy committee interest rates announcement on Thursday.

Bonds retreated, with the yield on the benchmark 2026 issue rising by 6 basis points to 8.09 percent.

On the bourse, stocks were flat as worries over global economic growth and US-China trade quelled investor appetite for emerging market equities after an earlier rally fuelled by hopes of looser US monetary policy.

The JSE Top40 index was unchanged at 51189.53 points while the broader all share index inched up by 0.01 percent to 572277.35 points.

Gold Fields slipped 2.96 percent to R72.21, while Sappi dropped 2.24 percent to R49.80. 

 Reuters