JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South African stocks fell on Wednesday after US data showed a drop in employment opportunities, while the rand weakened against the dollar.
US job vacancies, a measure of labor demand, released on Tuesday fell to 9.9 million in February – the lowest level in nearly two years.
For every unemployed person in the United States, there were 1.7 available jobs. This ratio, which is closely watched by the US Federal Reserve, is down from 1.9 in January.
“Our markets mirror what we see in the world’s largest economy,” said Sean Morrison, senior market analyst at IG.
On the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, the Top-40 Index (.JTOPI) closed down 1.07% while the broader All Stock Index (.JALSH) ended the day down 1.04%.
Domestically, the S&P Global South Africa Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) (ZAPMIM = ECI) released on Wednesday fell to 49.7 in March from 50.5 in February. A reading below 50 indicates a contraction in private sector economic activity.
At 1557 GMT, the rand was trading at 18.0050 against the dollar, 0.49% weaker than its previous close.
The dollar index, which measures the currency against six rivals, rose more than 0.2% to 101.79.
Benchmark 2030 government bonds were stronger, with the yield down 1 basis point, to 9.780%.
(Reporting) Tannur Anders and Bargav Acharya; Editing by Anait Meridzanian and Shellish Cooper
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