S.Africa’s rand flat, stocks subdued in thin holiday trade

Visitors walk past a reception with an electronic board displaying movements in major indices at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange building in Sandton, Johannesburg, South Africa, August 22, 2019. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s rand ended flat on Friday in thin trade ahead of the holidays, failing to add to its previous gains.

At 1530 GMT, the rand was flat at 14.2300 per dollar, reflecting muted interest in global currencies and the greenback and remaining in striking distance of the 14.20 technical resistance mark traders see as the hurdle for further gains.

For the week, the currency was up close to 2% after benefiting from a backdrop of mildly positive global sentiment as China and the United States looked close to reaching a partial agreement on trade tariffs.

Bonds were firmer, with the yield on the benchmark 2026 government issue down 3.5 basis points at 8.245%.

On the bourse, stocks were flat alongside emerging markets.

The JSE Top-40 Index was down 0.23% at 51,151 points while the broader All-Share Index slipped 0.26% to 57,411.

Retailer Foschini was at the bottom of the blue-chip index, falling 2% to 154.24 rand. In banks, Absa was the biggest loser, down 1.35% at 149.89 rand.

Preventing further losses were gold miners. Gold Fields was up 1.6% at 88.11 rand.

Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana and Naledi Mashishi; editing by Nick Macfie

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