(Updates rand level, adds stocks)
JOHANNESBURG, Sept 5 South Africa's rand firmed
against the dollar for a third straight session on Monday as
U.S. interest rate fears receded and, although risks around
domestic politics capped gains, it traded nearly 3 percent above
last week's one-month low.
The currency was 1 percent higher than Friday's close at
14.3785/dollar by 1633 GMT, rallying with other
emerging markets after weak U.S. jobs data trimmed expectations
that the Federal Reserve will raise rates this month.
Government bonds yields eased with the benchmark 10-year
paper dropping 9 basis points to 8.85 percent.
Stocks were barely changed from last week's close, with the
retail sector under particular pressure after a weak trading
update from industry barometer Mr Price.
The rand has clawed back some of the heavy loss incurred on
Aug. 23 on news that Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan was under
investigation, triggering fears he might be charged for his role
in setting up a spy unit when he ran the revenue service.
But analysts said political risk remained elevated, as
investors worried over political interference in the running of
Africa's most industrialised economy.
"Fear (about Gordhan's fate) does not bode well for
implementing the reforms identified by ratings agencies as
necessary to lift the economic growth rate and sustain our
investment grade rating," Old Mutual analysts Dave Mohr and Izak
Odendaal said in a note.
On the stock market, the benchmark Top-40 index
ticked up 0.23 percent to 47,078 points, while the All-Share
index was up by the same amount to 53,622 points.
This was in spite of retail shares extending losses, with Mr
Price falling 2.36 percent to 163.01 after flagging lower
half-year earnings last week.
Fashion group Truworths International shed 1.54
percent to 76.00 rand while consumer goods distributor Massmart
Holdings weakened 1.32 percent to 126.00 rand.
"If Mr Price, which is regarded as the superstar of the
retail sector ... is battling then maybe the consumer is under
more pressure than we realised," Cratos Capital equities trader
Greg Davies said.
The losses were offset by gains in the resources sector,
where a firmer platinum price boosted Royal Bafokeng Platinum
1.54 percent to 49.35 rand while Impala Platinum
was up 1.42 percent to 67.34 rand.
Volumes were below average, with 215 million shares changing
hands compared with a 2015 daily average of 296 million.
(Reporting by Stella Mapenzauswa and Tanisha Heiberg; Editing
by Louise Ireland)