Rand, gold scoop the cream as US lifts rate - Times LIVE
   
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Sun Apr 30 20:33:59 SAST 2017

Rand, gold scoop the cream as US lifts rate

AFP, TMG Digital | 2017-03-17 06:51:15.0
A worker sweeps in front of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), in this picture taken March 23, 2016.
Image by: PHILIMON BULAWAYO / REUTERS

The rand, gold and the JSE were all buoyed by a US Federal Reserve decision to raise interest rates.

The rand hit a 19-month high yesterday, with options traders turning the most bullish since August 2015.

Stocks on the JSE rose the most this year.

Gold climbed to its highest level in over a week after the US central bank signalled only gradual rate tightening and the dollar slid to its lowest in a month.

The bullion price has appreciated by more than 7% this year.

Traders called it a "relief rally", meaning their fears of an aggressive rate-increase path in the US had been allayed by the Fed's "dovish" comments as it announced the rate hike.

The rand advanced the most among more than 150 currencies in the world as Fed chairman Janet Yellen said the rate increase did not imply a shift to aggressive monetary tightening.

Most markets had already priced in a more hawkish approach over the rest of this year.

It was a significant turnaround for the rand, which had slipped below its 50-day moving average last week and developed a bearish "head-and-shoulders" technical pattern amid Fed tightening bets and domestic political tensions.

"Everyone was expecting this, but the market was expecting more of an aggressive stance," said Wayne McCurrie, the head of portfolio management at Ashburton Investments in Johannesburg.

The tone of the Fed statement "pushed the dollar down, which has pushed the rand and commodity prices up".

The US central bank raised its benchmark rate by a quarter percentage point and Yellen sought to reassure investors that monetary policy would remain accommodative for some time. The rand jumped 2.9% after the statement.

Spot gold gained 0.9% to $1,229.31/oz in afternoon trading, after touching $1,233.13.

The JSE closed stronger in broad-based gains led by gold as most commodities spiked on a weaker dollar.

The percentage rise of 2.03% was the biggest so far this year.

The JSE all-share closed 2.03% higher, with the gold index rocketing 7.43%.

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