March 26, 2020 / 4:55 PM / 7 days ago

UPDATE 1-South African stocks lifted by global markets, gold gains

(Updates figures, give detail)

JOHANNESBURG, March 26 (Reuters) - South African stocks gained with global markets on Thursday, lifted by a $2 trillion U.S. coronavirus relief package and a higher gold price, while the rand fell ahead of a lockdown.

The Johannesburg Stock Exchange’s Top-40 index as well as the broader All-Share index gained 4.09%, led higher for a third straight day, with gold miners up 7.12% and financials 7.18% higher.

A Wall Street rally powered global gains in stocks as traders focused on the unanimous passage of the coronavirus relief bill in the U.S. Senate and the possibility of more stimulus to come.

Spot gold gained after data showed U.S. jobless claims surged to a record high due to the coronavirus pandemic, with Gold Fields shares up 7% to 113.96 rand and AngloGold Ashanti 7.59% higher at 389.59 rand.

President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Monday that South Africa, which has confirmed more than 900 cases of coronavirus, would be in lockdown from midnight on Thursday to try to curb its spread.

Analysts expect the lockdown to support to Platinum Group Metals (PGMs) because of possible supply concerns.

South Africa is the world’s largest platinum producer with the mining sector accounting for around 13% of GDP and among Thursday’s biggest gainers were platinum groups Impala, up 2.93%, and Northam which rose by 1.49%.

The South African rand was 0.14% weaker at 17.3540 per dollar at 1622 GMT, snapping a two-session rally that had driven the currency to 17.1900, its highest level since Friday.

Bonds firmed, with the yield on the benchmark paper due in 2026 down 28 basis points to 10.335%. (Reporting by Tanisha Heiberg and Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo; Editing by Alexander Smith)

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