Weak currency is keeping rand hedges firm, but miners are not benefiting
The rand was trading at R13.57/$ at 6.30am on Thursday, taking its slide to more than 2% since President Jacob Zuma reshuffled his Cabinet on Tuesday.
The rand was at R16.01/€ and R17.93/£.
The weakening rand boosted the shares of geographically diversified companies, with Anheuser-Busch InBev rising 1.9% to R1,712.60 and British American Tobacco rising 0.64% to R870.
Stats SA reported August’s retail sales growth was 5.5% — far higher than economists’ consensus of 2.3% — which buoyed the JSE’s general retailers index by 0.87%.
It was led higher by fashion chain Truworths International’s 3.17% rise to R78.14, followed by The Foschini Group’s 1.73% to R140.84 and Massmart’s 1.48% to R115.76.
"It is possible that the August retail sales dynamics to an extent reflect the effects of the 25 basis point interest rate cut in July and the slower rate of inflation. Lower base factors also contributed to lifting the annual growth outcomes," Investec Bank economist Kamilla Kaplan wrote in an e-mailed note.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.7% to clock 23,000 points for the first time, but Wall Street’s other two main indices — the S&P 500 and Nasdaq — were flat on Wednesday.
The composite indices of mainland China’s Shenzhen and Shanghai stock exchanges were both down more than 0.3% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was down 0.1% ahead of the JSE’s opening.
China’s September quarter GDP growth was reported at 6.8% from the same quarter in 2016. This matched the economists’ consensus, but marked a slowdown from the second quarter’s 6.9%.
The slowdown of the Chinese economy saw Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 index fall slightly, and is likely to cause the JSE’s miners to suffer for a third day.
Despite the weakening rand, the JSE’s resource 10 index fell 0.23% on Wednesday and 0.48% on Tuesday.