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Rand steady as trade woes hit EM currencies, stocks dip

At 1500 GMT, the rand was trading at 14.0800 per dollar, little changed from its closing price of 14.0875 on Tuesday.

Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG -The rand was little changed late on Wednesday, struggling for momentum along with stocks as worries that a prolonged US-China trade war will slow global growth put emerging markets under pressure.

At 1500 GMT, the rand was trading at 14.0800 per dollar, little changed from its closing price of 14.0875 on Tuesday.

“The trade optimism following the G20 summit resolution between the US and China to resume trade talks is fading, as investors remain wary about a trade deal being concluded,” RMB analyst Mpho Tsebe wrote in a note.

“Adding to the scepticism is the threat of additional tariffs on $4 billion European goods due to the ongoing dispute over aircraft subsidies.”

The United States and China agreed on Saturday to restart trade talks after President Donald Trump offered concessions including no new tariffs and an easing of restrictions on tech company Huawei in order to reduce tensions with Beijing.

But investors have grown more skeptical about the possibility of a speedy resolution to the trade war, especially given Trump’s comments that any deal would have to be tilted in favour of the United States.

On the bourse, the benchmark JSE Top-40 Index was down 0.25% to 51,960.56 points while the broader All-Share Index slipped 0.13% to 58,014.54 points.

“Our market saw a bit of a push with the gold prices going up. I think [the market] was driven more by opportunities in the resource sector,” said BP Bernstein trader Vasili Girasis.

Financials were mostly negatively affected with Firstrand down 1.76% at 65.97 rand and Discovery dipping 1.63% to R148.25.

Gold prices were up 1.68% with AngloGold 2.075% higher and Goldfields up 0.18%.

Online services group Naspers picked up slightly following the appointment of Phuti Mahanyele-Dabengwa to the newly created role of chief executive officer of South Africa, up 0.14% to 3,480.03 rand.

In fixed income, the yield on the benchmark 10-year government issue was at 8.11%.

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