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South Africa's rand flat as rally brakes, stocks high on Naspers gains

Reuters logo Reuters 2017-09-11

South Africa's rand was barely moved on Monday, with lower global prices for gold eating into early gains as worries over military tensions between the United States and North Korea that have hurt risk assets eased.

Stocks rose, led by gains in bourse heavyweight Naspers

At 1500 GMT the rand was trading 0.02 percent firmer at 12.9375 per dollar compared to a closing price of 12.9400 on Friday in New York.

The currency traded as strongly as 12.8675 early in the session but backtracked to just above the 12.90 technical support mark as a dearth of local data and a near 1 percent slide in spot gold prices dimmed demand. [GOL/]

The dollar index was up 0.42 percent on the day, edging away from Friday's 2-1/2-year low.[nL2N1LS0SI]

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

Finance Minster Malusi Gigaba said on Monday the economy was likely to miss the government's growth target of 1.3 percent for 2017 despite recent data showing it had shaken off a technical recession. [nL5N1LS1QR]

Bonds weakened, with the yield on the benchmark 2026 issue up 2.5 basis points at 8.445 percent.

On the bourse, the benchmark Top-40 index rose 0.72 percent to 49,628 points while the All-Share index lifted 0.51 percent to 56,009 points.

E-commerce group Naspers, which has a one-third stake in Hong Kong listed Tencent, rose 3.10 percent to 2952.65 rand on the back of gains in the Chinese internet company.

"There is a demand for Tencent Holdings in China itself, they closed up nearly 3 percent. When Tencent starts moving up aggressively we start to see it here," Independent Securities trader Ryan Woods said.

People walk near the reception at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in Sandton, Johannesburg © REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko People walk near the reception at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in Sandton, Johannesburg

Further gains on the bourse were curbed by gold shares, such as AngloGold Ashanti which fell 5.62 percent to 129.89 rand, after spot gold prices lowered on Monday.

Demand for the safe-haven asset fell on relief that North Korea did not conduct a missile test over the weekend and signs that storm Irma had wreaked less damage than feared. [nL5N1LS2EX]

(Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana and Hanisha Heiberg; Editing by Catherine Evans)

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