File image: IOL

JOHANNESBURG - The Rand was slightly firmer yesterday, reversing some earlier losses against a buoyant dollar as domestic trade figures showed another surplus and producer inflation slowed.

At 5pm, the rand was bid at R12.9963 to the dollar, 1.61c stronger than at the same time on Wednesday, having reached a session low of R13.08.

The rand rallied to its firmest in one month last Friday but has lacked momentum to push it past the 12.96 short-term resistance mark this week with concerns over the economy scuttling demand spurred by a global appetite for risk.

Traders said they were opting to sell the currency and take small profits in anticipation of a rebound by the dollar. South Africa registered its sixth consecutive surplus in July, data showed. In fixed income, bonds firmed with the yield on the benchmark paper due in 2026 falling.

Meanwhile, stocks climbed, led by Steinhoff, which was boosted by a jump in sales. The benchmark JSE Top40 index gained 0.65percent to 49997.27 points, while, the wider all share index ended up 0.63percent higher at 56522.11 points. Both were just short of record highs.

The market’s key indices have been hitting record levels recently, driven by a handful of blue chip companies such as Naspers. Steinhoff advanced 2.65percent to R62.86 after the furniture retailer reported a 48percent jump nine-month sales and quelled investor fears.

The firm’s stock clawed its way up after allaying concerns in a report that said German prosecutors were investigating four current and former executives of the firm.