File image: IOL
The rand firmed yesterday as the dollar weakened after US Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell highlighted risks to the US economy in remarks that could bolster expectations of an interest rate cut later this month.

The rand was also boosted by news that President Cyril Ramaphosa has re-appointed SA Reserve Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago for another five-year term.

At 5pm, the rand bid at R14.0665 to the dollar, 10cents stronger than at the same time on Tuesday.

In prepared remarks to a congressional committee, Powell said concerns about trade policy and a weak global economy “continue to weigh on the US economic outlook” and the Fed stood ready to “act as appropriate” to sustain a decade-long expansion.

In fixed income, the yield on the benchmark 2026 government issue fell by 0.5 basis points to 8.11 percent.

On the bourse, the benchmark JSE Top40 index was up 1.15 percent to 51491.95 points while the broader all share index closed 1.11percent higher at 57597.87 points.

Mining company Gold Fields was at the top of the blue-chip index, rising by 5.06 percent to R77.05, while pharmaceuticals Aspen closed 3.5percent higher at R105. Retailer Clicks was up 2.76 percent to R209.24.

Dragging down further gains was steel producer ArcelorMittal, which tumbled 15.9 percent to R2.91. I 

 Reuters