South African rand firms as dollar hammered by Syria fears, stocks lower
JOHANNESBURG, April 11 (Reuters) - South Africa's rand
firmed in late trade on Wednesday as the dollar slipped on fears
of possible Western military action against Syria and tensions
between Russia and the United States soared, subduing risk
The concerns weighed on stocks, with the benchmark index
snapping two straight sessions of gains.
At 1512 GMT, the rand traded at 11.9900 against the
dollar, 0.39 percent firmer than Tuesday's close of 12.0375.
The rand had weakened to 12.1250/dollar earlier in the
session in line with a broader emerging markets sell-off.
But the mood subsequently turned more bearish after U.S.
President Donald Trump warned Russia of imminent military action
in Syria over a suspected poison gas attack, lambasting Moscow
for standing by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The fragility of South Africa's recent domestic economic
rebound was also in focus after data on Tuesday showed
manufacturing had fallen on a month-on-month basis in February.
In addition, the Reserve Bank warned last year's boom in growth
could fade if details on policy reforms were not forthcoming.
On the bourse, the JSE Top-40 index fell 1 percent
to 49,472 points and the broader All-share index lost
by the same margin to 56,170 points.
Lenders Barclays Africa and Standard Bank
were among the biggest decliners, both falling 3.4 percent as
they started trading without the rights to their next dividend
In fixed income, the yield for the benchmark government bond
fell one basis point to 8.095 percent.
(Reporting by Tiisetso Motsoeneng and Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo
Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)
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