TRUWTHS:  7,137   -44 (-0.61%)  20/05/2019 00:00

South Africa's rand, stocks lifted by strong retail data

(Updates throughout)

JOHANNESBURG, Jan 16 (Reuters) - South Africa's rand and local stocks strengthened on Wednesday as retail sales rose more than expected, helping ease concerns over dismal mining data a day earlier.

At 1600 GMT, the rand traded at 13.7200 per dollar, 0.2 percent stronger than its previous close and continuing a strong start to 2019.

Retail sales rose 3.1 percent year on year in November, versus expectations for a rise of 2.5 percent.

"Today's figures point to some improvement on the demand side of the economy off a low base in the final quarter of this year," Nedbank economists said in a research note. "But the recovery in the production side remains slow and patchy."

Mining production fell 5.6 percent year on year in November.

On the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), stocks rose as retailers outperformed.

Grocery retailer Pick n Pay rose 1.87 percent to 75.59 rand, while clothing firm Truworths gained 1.61 percent to 89.08 rand and apparel and homeware retailer Mr Price increased 1.62 percent to 259.14 rand.

Some retailers struggled to lift earnings and sales last year, as elevated household debts, higher fuel prices and an increase in value-added tax squeezed consumer income.

But Wednesday's data showed Black Friday sales gave a boost to retailers in November.

The JSE's Top-40 index ended up 0.6 percent at 47,665 points, while the All-share index rose 0.5 percent to 53,786 points.

(Reporting by Nqobile Dludla and Alexander Winning; Editing by Alison Williams)

2019-01-16 18:09:34

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