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Rand, stocks slide in global market plunge

The rand has underperformed most of its emerging market peers over the past month.

Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The rand fell more than two percent against the dollar on Friday, one of the weakest performances in a basket of emerging market currencies, reflecting worries about both the global and domestic economic outlook.

Stocks were down over one percent, led down by clothing retailer Mr Price.

The rand hit a session low of 16.8410/dollar, down more than 2.3 percent from Thursday's close and raising fears of another possible stab at Monday's historic low of 17.9950 in coming days.

The rand has underperformed most of its emerging market peers over the past month, weakening nearly 20 percent after President Jacob Zuma left investors skittish about future policy in Africa's most industrialised economy by firing the finance minister.

But Friday's move also reflected a general slide in global markets as a sharp fall in the oil price and worries over the outlook for China's economy spurred risk aversion.

"The rand is currently on the back foot due to growth concerns in China as well as the rising risk of a sovereign credit rating downgrade for South Africa," First National Bank said in a market note.

"All told, 2016 is likely to be South Africa's most difficult year since the financial crisis."

Local stocks were not spared the gloom, with the benchmark Top-40 index losing 1.49 percent to 42,105 points, while the All-share shed 1.43 percent to 47,013 points.

Mr Price shares sank 17.82 percent to end at R156.96 after the retailer reported sales growth of 6.5 percent.

"Up until a few years ago, they were growing sales by up to 20 percent every quarter and now that they are unable to do so, the market is disappointed," head trader at Cratos Capital, Greg Davies said.

Trade was robust, with 253 million shares changing hands, according to preliminary bourse data.

In fixed income, the yield on the benchmark government bond maturing in 2026 ZAR186 added 5 basis points to end the week at 9.765 percent.