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#RandReport: Rand on the ropes as stimulus package disappoints; stocks fall

At 1505 GMT the rand was 0.17% softer at 14.41 per dollar, with a move to the 14.50 level seen as a pivot point that could increase selling on the unit towards 14.70.

Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa’s rand remained on the rack on Tuesday with investors unconvinced by the economic stimulus plan President Cyril Ramaphosa announced last week.

Stocks were lower as renewed trade war concerns put emerging markets on the back foot.

At 1505 GMT the rand was 0.17% softer at 14.41 per dollar, with a move to the 14.50 level seen as a pivot point that could increase selling on the unit towards 14.70.

The currency is down close to 20% year-to-date.

A statement by ratings agency Fitch on Tuesday said Ramaphosa’s turnaround plan was unlikely to boost dismal economic growth significantly.

The rand’s reaction to the stimulus plan on Friday was subdued, while traders said the slew of domestic data releases due later in the week was keeping investors on the sidelines.

“The market will be most intrigued by Friday’s data points, with the money supply, private-sector credit extension, trade balance and budget figures all to be released before afternoon tea,” Nema Ramkhelawan-Bhana of Rand Merchant Bank said in a note.

Bonds were also weaker, with the yield on the benchmark government bond due in 2026 up 6.5 basis points to 9.150%.

The blue-chip top 40 index was down 0.64% to 50,659 points while the all share index fell 0.49% to 56,883 points.

“It appears that the ongoing trade tariff wars between the US and China are still of concern. We saw Hong Kong markets particularly affected,” said Ferdi Heyneke, portfolio manager at Afrifocus.

Market heavyweight Naspers closed 1.95% lower, mirroring Tencent Holdings which ended 1.97% lower. Naspers has an over 31% stake in China’s biggest gaming and social media company.

Shares in South African petrochemicals group Sasol rose to 3.85% on the back of higher oil prices.

Brent crude oil prices rose to four-year highs on imminent US sanctions on Iranian crude exports and the apparent reluctance of OPEC and Russia to raise output.

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