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#RandReport: Rand and stocks on the back foot ahead of G20 summit

The rand was trading at 13.7725 per dollar by 1503 GMT, 0.84% weaker than its New York close of 13.6575.

Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The rand weakened against the dollar on Friday as demand for riskier assets remained subdued ahead of the G20 summit and a meeting between the leaders of China and the United States this weekend.

Stocks also ended the week on a downward trend, tracking global markets as investors took a cautious stance ahead of high-stakes US-China trade talks.

The rand was trading at 13.7725 per dollar by 1503 GMT, 0.84% weaker than its New York close of 13.6575. The currency touched an intraday high of 13.7600.

“The rand has come back off some of the gains in a cautious environment ahead to the G20 summit and what happens at the meeting between US and China, which has left emerging markets on the back foot,” said ETM economist Halen Bothma. “There isn’t excessive weakness and jitters.”

Markets awaited the outcome of talks between US President Donald Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping, expected to take place at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires which kicks off on Friday. The two were expected to discuss contentious trade matters which could impact currencies globally.

On the local front, South Africa’s October budget deficit narrowed to R32.72 billion compared with a R34.84 billion shortfall in the corresponding period last year, Treasury data showed on Friday.

“The local data releases didn’t print particularly strongly, showing a trying fiscal environment, and the trade recovery didn’t help the rand much,” said Bothma, noting the rand had mostly been affected by external factors.

Bonds also weakened, with the yield on the benchmark bond due in 2026 up 0.5 basis points to 8.935%.

In equities, the All Share index was down 2.08% to 50,663 points, while the blue-chip Top 40 index fell 2.29% to 44,656 points.

E-commerce group and market heavyweight Naspers fell 2.02% despite reporting a 39% jump in half-year profit, thanks to a strong showing from its Chinese money-maker Tencent.