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Rand weakens as trade worries sour risk appetite

The waning hopes of a swift resolution to the US-China trade war overshadowed news of the South African economy snapping out of recession in the third quarter and surpassing economists’ expectations.

Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The rand weakened against the dollar in early trade on Wednesday as worries that Washington and Beijing may not be able to clinch a substantive trade deal during their temporary cease-fire weighed on risk appetite.

At 0630 GMT, the rand traded at R13.8600 per dollar, 0.14% weaker than its New York close of R13.8400 on Tuesday.

The waning hopes of a swift resolution to the US-China trade war overshadowed news of the South African economy snapping out of recession in the third quarter and surpassing economists’ expectations.

US President Donald Trump threatened on Tuesday to place “major tariffs” on Chinese goods imported into the United States if his administration is unable to reach an effective trade deal with Beijing.

“The rand gave up most of its gains during the overnight trading session, as trade war fears resurfaced and (British Prime Minister) May’s humiliating Brexit battles swiftly overshadowed the positive local events,” Bianca Botes, treasury manager at Peregrine Treasury Solutions, said in a note.

British Prime Minister Theresa May suffered embarrassing defeats on Tuesday at the start of five days of debate over her plans to leave the European Union that could determine the future of Brexit and the fate of her government.

In fixed income, the yield on the benchmark government bond due in 2026 was up 9 basis points to 9.01%.

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