South African blue-chip stocks booked another 2-1/2-year closing high on Thursday, rising 0.6 percent as shares of Anglo Platinum and other resource companies continued their recent run.

The rand failed to match a rally by other emerging market currencies against the dollar, partly weighed by central bank intervention to mop up the greenback.

Anglo Platinum, the world's largest producer of the precious metal, jumped more than 3.7 percent to 750 rand after it said full-year earnings likely rose as much as seven-fold. Angloplat said it benefited from higher platinum prices in the year to end-December.

Platinum, which rose 20 percent in 2010, hit its highest since July 2008 on Thursday.

I'm fairly bullish, said Abri Du Plessis, chief investment officer of Gryphon Asset Management, about the outlook for long-term commodity prices.

Resources are becoming scarcer and scarcer, he said, adding the scarcity would ultimately benefit commodities companies, he said.

Johannesburg's Top-40 index finished up 160.30 points at 29,199.02, its highest close since June 2008, and its second 2-1/2-year straight 2-1/2-year closing high. The broader All-share index rose 0.5 percent to 32,632.15, its highest finish since May 2008.

Other platinum producers also gained, with Lonmin, the world's third-largest producer of the metal, gaining 2 percent to 202 rand.


By 1538 GMT the rand was at 6.8150 to the dollar, barely changed from Wednesday's close at 6.8255.

Euro-dollar is higher ... and it seems like ... people are now sort of establishing a more short dollar position. So we're seeing basically a lot of emerging market currencies rally versus the dollar but the rand is not participating in the risk rally, said Imran Ahmad, emerging markets strategist at RBS.

I think that's a continuation of the trend we've seen over the last week or so. There's been some intervention from the central bank, he said, adding that renewed focus on current deficits in the region also weighed.

Latest official data shows South Africa's current account deficit, traditionally the bane of the domestic unit, widened to 3.0 percent of GDP in the third quarter of 2010 from 2.5 percent in the second quarter.

The shortfall has however been covered by portfolio flows, which have helped lift the rand nearly 8 percent against the dollar since the start of 2009, according to Reuters data.

Government bonds fell on Thursday, and yields climbed higher, with the benchmark 2015 bond up 7.5 basis points to 7.49 percent and that for the longer-dated 2026 note 8.5 basis points higher at 8.5 percent.