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Rand slumps to near 6-month low, bonds weaken

The analysts said that the rand’s performance compared to other emerging market currencies reflected 'the recent run of poor South African data releases and waning ‘Ramaphoria’'.

Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The rand slumped to a near six-month low against the dollar and government bonds weakened sharply on Friday, dragged down by weak economic growth and global investors shying away from riskier assets.

At 0703 GMT, the rand traded at R13.1250 per dollar, 0.81% weaker than its close on Thursday. The currency was at its weakest level since 18 December, Thomson Reuters data showed.

The yield for the benchmark government bond due in 2026 rose 18.5 basis points to 9.015%, reflecting weaker prices.

Analysts at NKC African Economics said “emerging markets in general were on the back foot as investors lost their risk appetite and piled into safe-haven US Treasury bonds”.

The analysts said that the rand’s performance compared to other emerging market currencies reflected “the recent run of poor South African data releases and waning ‘Ramaphoria’”, referring to optimism around the election of President Cyril Ramaphosa in February.

The rand has been hit since data on Tuesday showing South African first-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) shrank 2.2%, led by a slowdown in agriculture, mining and manufacturing.

Wider appetite among investors for riskier assets has waned on bets that Europe’s massive monetary stimulus is nearing an end, compounded by uncertainty over trade relations ahead of a key meeting of global leaders.

On the stock market, the Top-40 index was down 1.1% while the broader all-share fell 0.99% in early trade.

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