S.Africa's rand weaker vs dollar, stocks at two-wk high

Fri Sep 16, 2011 4:44pm GMT

By Phumza Macanda and David Dolan

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa's rand ended the week on a bearish note on Friday, but bonds recovered somewhat after a sharp sell-off seen as overdone earlier in the week.

Domestic stocks inched to their highest close in two weeks, rising 0.13 percent as gains in Harmony Gold and other miners offset a downturn in banks.

Trade was subdued ahead of the weekend and after the settlement of September index futures on Thursday.

While investors remain skittish on concerns about the euro zone debt crisis, signals of support for Greece this week helped South African stocks make up for some of their recent steep losses.

That trend could continue next week, said Menelaos Hatziandreou, a trader at BP Bernstein.

"People are still very cautious but I expect a bit of a rally in the next few sessions because the guys want to create new positions after the futures close-out yesterday," he said.

The rand was trading at 7.43 against the dollar at 1545 GMT, 0.5 percent weaker than Thursday.

"There's still a lot of nervousness in the market and guys are not taking new positions. Exporter interest at 7.45 and importer interest at 7.38/40 has kept it within a range," said Ion de Vleeschauwer, chief dealer at Bidvest Bank.   Continued...

A bank teller looks at South African rand note, October 1, 2003.
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UK £ USD =1.2617
Euro USD =1.1124
Rand USD =0.0764