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JOHANNESBURG - The rand retreated yesterday as a resurgent dollar pushed back and wiped away early demand for risk currencies while turning up technical pressure on the local unit.

At 5pm, the rand had weakened to R13.0212 to the dollar, sinking to its softest level in nearly a week despite early demand that lifted the unit to session-high of R12.875 before the greenback’s rebound kicked-in.

The dollar index extended gains slightly on the day after recording its largest gain this month on Monday, with receding worries about North Korea and Hurricane Irma soothing sentiment.

The latest twist in the political spat between the central bank and Public Protector had yet to affect trade in the rand, traders said, with technical considerations the main focus.

The reserve bank yesterday accused the anti-graft watchdog of glaring omissions and procedural unfairness in its report that recommended the bank’s mandate be changed to focus on growth rather than currency and price stability.

Meanwhile, the bourse gained ground lifted higher by mining companies.

The benchmark JSE Top40 index was up 0.69% at 49970.85 points, while the broader all share index advanced 0.64% to 56366.16 points.

Diversified mining company BHP Billiton, which has petroleum and iron ore assets in its portfolio, was the best performer among the blue chips, advancing 2.63% to close at R248.65.

Resource firms were further buoyed by a rebound in iron ore futures on steady demand from China.

Anglo American, which also has iron ore assets, was up 1.21% at R239.85.

-BUSINESS REPORT