The rand has continued to grow firm against the dollar on Tuesday after data showed that the South African economy has emerged from technical recession in the second quarter.
Stocks fell, however, led by declines in rand hedge shares.
The rand traded at 12.8850 per dollar, 0.73% firmer than its New York close on Monday.
The rand remained beyond the important 13.00 technical support mark, indicating positive momentum.
“The fact that the economy has managed to climb out of recession in (the second quarter) is likely to allay some fears of further credit ratings downgrades later this year and, in our view, should bode in favour of the currency, at least in the short term,” said BNP Paribas South Africa economist Jeff Schultz.
Africa’s most industrialised economy grew 2.5% in the three months to the end of June, bouncing back from a technical recession following two consecutive quarters of contracting, data from Statistics South Africa showed.
Government bonds also firmed, with the yield for the benchmark paper due in 2026 closing 6 basis points lower at 8.455%.
On the stock market, the Top-40 index closed down 0.3% at 49,643 points and the broader all-share slipped 0.3% to 56,145 points.
Among the biggest losers were rand-hedged stocks, which make the bulk of their revenue outside South Africa and tend to weaken as the currency strengthens.
“A stronger rand is not going to help the rand hedges,” said Independent Securities trader Ryan Woods.
British American Tobacco dropped 0.77% to R802.77 and South African-listed shares in Mediclinic declined 0.75% to R126.43.
Other losers included Rhodes Food which plummeted 15.35% to R19.75, a more than 17-month low, after flagging a drop-in earnings of up to 27%.