#RandReport: Rand falls as risk aversion grows; stocks flat

By 1550 GMT, the rand had weakened 1.1% to 13.4125 per dollar from an overnight close of 13.2800.

Picture: Gadeeja Abbas/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – The rand weakened on Tuesday as risk aversion grew, amid worries a far-right candidate was gaining momentum in France's presidential race.

Stocks were barely changed, with investors cautious before South Africa's State on the Nation Address.

By 1550 GMT, the rand had weakened 1.1% to 13.4125 per dollar from an overnight close of 13.2800, with most of the losses coming early in the session.

In France, a poll released on Tuesday showed the right-wing candidate, Marine Le Pen, was likely to win the first round of an increasingly contentious presidential election. However, the sane poll showed she would then lose the second round, with Macron taking 66% of the vote.

Le Pen has pledged to take France out of the European Union if she wins. Fears that France might quit the EU, setting off an economic shock, led traders to sell riskier assets and seek refuge in the US dollar.

Bonds also weakened, with yield on the benchmark bond due in 2026 adding 6 basis points to 8.88%.

On the stock exchange, the benchmark Top-40 index ticked up 0.03% to 45,367 points. The All-Share index edged up 0.06% to 52,182 points.

Stocks remained under pressure before an address by President Jacob Zuma.

"A bit of concern about the State of the Nation on Thursday. A lot of participants are sitting on the sidelines waiting to see if there is any political news," said Cratos Capital equity analyst Greg Davies.

Brait fell 3.79% t to 77.45 rand, MTN dropped 1.76% to 117.75 rand and Redefine Properties lowered 1.55% to 10.80 rand.

Further losses were curbed by Harmony Gold, which rose 4.77% to 37.31 rand, and Gold Fields, which gained 2.14% to 48.25 rand, as gold shares benefited from safe-haven buying