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JOHANNESBURG – South Africa’s rand strengthened on Wednesday alongside emerging market currencies on hopes of more stimulus for China’s slowing economy, but local stocks dipped after data showing another weak month for retail sales.
At 1530 GMT, the rand traded at 14.1850 to the dollar, 0.5 percent stronger than its New York overnight close.
China, South Africa’s biggest trading partner, reported unexpectedly low retail sales, suggesting that consumers were distressed about U.S.-China trade talks.
Beijing typically responds rapidly to signs of economic weakness.
South African retail sales were 0.2 percent stronger year-on-year in March, data showed on Wednesday, highlighting lingering economic weakness ahead of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s highly anticipated cabinet announcement.
In fixed income, the yield on the benchmark government bond due in 2026 fell 7 basis points to 8.420 percent.
On the Johannesburg bourse, the All-Share index was down 0.34 percent to 56,043 points, while blue chips on the Top-40 index fell 0.4 percent to 49,877 points.
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