JOHANNESBURG, Sept 2 (Reuters) – A rally in the South African rand came to a halt on Thursday afternoon, as investors turned cautious ahead of a U.S. jobs report on Friday that could affect expectations over the path of the Federal Reserve’s policy.
At 1542 GMT, the rand traded at 14.4400 against the dollar, roughly 0.3% weaker than its previous close and on course for its first daily loss in almost two weeks.
The rand had risen steadily this week in the wake of a dovish speech from Fed Chair Jerome Powell last Friday, when he suggested the bank was in no rush to raise interest rates.
The local currency has shrugged off domestic data releases including budget (ZABUDM=ECI) and trade (ZATBAL=ECI) figures to track shifts in global sentiment and moves in the dollar (.DXY). read more
Andre Cilliers, currency strategist at TreasuryONE, said on Thursday morning the rand was heading into “overbought territory” after closing stronger for eight consecutive days.
On Friday, investors will look to a PMI survey (ZAPMIM=ECI) for clues about the pace of South Africa’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
On the Johannesburg bourse, stocks fell, with the All-Share index (.JALSH) ending down 0.48% and the Top-40 index (.JTOPI) down 0.42%.
Leading the decliners was insurer Discovery (DSYJ.J), which dropped 7.80% after it scrapped its annual dividend again and said it may have to raise equity capital to cover costs linked to its investment in China’s Ping An (601318.SS). read more
Miner Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd (IMPJ.J) was another big faller, closing 6.86% weaker, as its annual headline earnings per share (HEPS) growth missed market expectations.
Equity analyst Nkateko Mathonsi of Investec viewed the HEPS figure, the primary profit measure for South African companies, as well as the final dividend as “disappointing”.
Reporting by Nqobile Dludla and Alexander Winning Editing by Mark Potter