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#RandReport: Rand weakens as risk sentiment wavers

At 1530 GMT the rand was 0.64% weaker at 14.1800 per dollar after weakening below the 14 to the dollar level on Thursday.

Picture: Supplied

JOHANNESBURG - The rand extended losses against a stronger dollar on Friday, after breaching the 14.00 to the dollar mark in the previous session, as doubts over the fate of a US-China trade deal curbed appetite for risk.

Stocks got a boost from relatively upbeat results from property firm Hyprop Investment Ltd, drinks maker Distell Group and African Rainbow Minerals.

At 1530 GMT the rand was 0.64% weaker at 14.1800 per dollar after weakening below the 14 to the dollar level on Thursday. The dollar was buoyed by upbeat fourth-quarter growth in the world’s top economy.

US President Donald Trump on Thursday fuelled concerns over trade talks between the United States and China after warning that he could walk away from a trade deal with China if it was not good enough, although his economic advisers touted “fantastic” progress towards an agreement.

“When looking at the holistic picture, a potential positive outcome from the US/China trade talks could be the last ‘good news’ for emerging markets for a while, as geopolitical tension, declining global GDP, and populism all threaten risk appetite,” said Bianca Botes, an analyst at Peregrine Treasury.

In fixed income, the yield on benchmark government bond due in 2026 closed 4.5 basis points higher at 8.745%.

On the bourse, the Johannesburg all-share index rose 0.63% to 56,203 points, while the Top-40 index gained 0.35% to 49,841 points.

Growth-hungry South African drinks maker Distell closed 3.77% stronger to R124.52 after reporting a 9.1% increase in half-year group revenue.

African Rainbow Minerals rose 1.93% after reporting increasing its interim dividend by 60% and reporting a 13% increase in headline earnings.

Hyprop said half-year revenue rose to R1.63 billion from R1.54 billion, sending its shares up 5.86% to R82.03.

On the decliners’ side, shares in MTN Group fell 5.41%, day after the mobile phone group announced guidance for annual profit that was lower than forecast.