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#RandReport: Rand weaker on risk aversion sentiment, stocks fall

Stocks tracked their global counterparts that were lower on growth concerns and lingering China-U.S. trade tensions.

Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The rand weakened more than 1% on Monday, in line with falls in stocks and some emerging market currencies, amid weak data from the world’s biggest economies, concern over tension between the US and China dimmed investor appetite for riskier assets.

Stocks tracked their global counterparts that were lower on growth concerns and lingering China-U.S. trade tensions.

The rand was trading at 14.3425 per dollar by 1512 GMT, 1.15% weaker from its Friday close of 14.1800. The currency touched an intraday high of 14.3800.

“It appears that hopes of the rand sustaining its appreciatory momentum ... (were) as fleeting as discounts from Black Friday sales. The currency’s one-week implied volatility against the dollar is at its highest level in three months,” said RMB in a note.

Disappointing US jobs data on Friday sent Wall Street more than 2% lower, adding to signs elsewhere in Asia and Europe of weakening momentum and the wider impact of the Sino-US trade war flared up.

China reported far weaker-than-expected November exports and imports, showing slower global and domestic demand and raising the possibility authorities will take more measures to keep the country’s growth rate from slipping too much.

While the arrest Huawei CFO sparked concerns over its impact on China-US trade relations, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said on Friday the trade truce between China-US and Meng’s arrest “are two separate events.”

But he warned of higher tariffs if the countries could not come to an agreement during the truce.

“There was some technical resistance around 14.27 earlier and that coincided with New York coming in. And once we went through those levels some stop-losses were sold and we saw the rand spike up to 14.30 which isn’t surprising when liquidity is low, said Oliver Alwar, senior forex dealer at Standard Bank.

Bonds were flat, with the yield on the benchmark bond due in 2026 at 9.170%.

The All Share index fell 1.15% to 50,449 points while the blue-chip Top 40 index was down 1.24% to 44,448 points.

“There are just so many moving parts affecting the market at the moment and this volatility is not likely to end soon,” said Ryan Woods, equities trader at Independent Securities.

Africa’s biggest telecoms firm MTN Group still in talks with Nigerian authorities over an $8.1 billion dispute and a $2 billion tax demand in a bid to reach an agreement.

MTN shares sagged 2.89% to a R83.89 close.

Gold stocks bucked the negative market to rise 4% as bullion prices neared five-month highs.

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