The JSE all share was firmer on Wednesday as the market welcomed Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba’s budget speech, which emphasised a reduced debt burden and avoided direct tax rates. Instead, VAT was raised from 14% to 15%, the first increase in 25 years. The all share closed 1.17% higher at 58,606 points and the top 40 rose 1.39%. Food and drug retailers gained 3.53%, banks 2.39%, industrials 1.66%, property 1.35% and financials 1.17%. The gold index dropped 0.48%, resources 0.28% and general retailers 0.22%. The rand quickly gained 10c soon after Gigaba began his speech, firming from R11.7301 to the dollar to R11.6268. It was at R11.6502 to the dollar soon after the JSE’s close. Local bonds also reacted positively, as the budget deficit is set to narrow over the next few years. The R186 was bid at 8.03% from 8.09% while Gigaba spoke, before soon breaking through 8% to 7.97% at the JSE’s close, its best level since April 2015. Diversified miner Glencore gained 3.02% to R65.25, after...

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