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A surprise revision of local trade balance data for January through to September 2013 witnesses a reduced deficit in the region of 50% from R126.4bn to R64.5bn helping the rand gain traction. The much improved figure was a result of the inclusion of trade surpluses from peripheral countries surrounding South Africa as well as land locked Lesotho.
Riskier assets and emerging market currencies were also given a boost following Janet Yellens comments around an improved yet fragile US economy still in need of aid, with the suggestion of delayed tapering supporting risk-on sentiment once more.
Our Top40 index is attempting to close the week on a strong note after the recent decline which was in the region of 4% off all-time highs. When markets correct, nervousness is induced and doomsday profits are quick to emerge. However, corrections in markets are necessary for longer-term gains and it does appear that the longer-term uptrend is resuming at present.
The end of the week witnesses broad-based gains in equity markets which has been led by the previously underperforming general retail sector.