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South Africa’s rand, stocks weaker after Fed comments

By Reuters | August 22nd 2016 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

South Africa’s rand retreated for a third consecutive session on Friday to its weakest level in a week against the dollar while stocks also fell, both assets pressured by signs the US central bank could still lift rates this year. PHOTO: COURTESY

South Africa’s rand retreated for a third consecutive session on Friday to its weakest level in a week against the dollar while stocks also fell, both assets pressured by signs the US central bank could still lift rates this year.

The rand had slid 0.9 per cent to 13.5065 per dollar, following a close at 13.3860 overnight in New York.

Comments on Thursday by a top Federal Reserve official supporting an interest rate increase as early as September boosted the dollar, putting emerging currencies on the backfoot, with the rand among the biggest losers in the session.

Gold prices also fell sharply, by as much 1.5 per cent at one stage, adding further pressure on commodity-linked currencies. On the bourse, stocks were also lower, with bank and retail shares also hit by the hawkish Fed.

“The theme the whole week was what the Fed is going to do in terms of the rate hike,” BP Bernstein trader Vasili Tirasis said.

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“The negative movement was in line with the thinking of the Fed hiking rates.” The benchmark Top-40 index was down 0.41 per cent to 45,877 points and the broader All-share index was 0.41 per cent lower at 52,771. — Reuters


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