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Rand firmer against dollar, seen on backfoot

The rand traded 0.6% firmer at 14.8450 per dollar at 1530 GMT.

Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - The rand firmed on Monday but traders expected gains to be limited as uncertainty over the United States and China reaching a trade deal any time soon and fears of a slowdown in global growth kept investors on the sidelines.

The rand traded 0.6% firmer at 14.8450 per dollar at 1530 GMT.

Peregrine Treasury Solutions said in a note that while the rand had firmed from a session low touched earlier, it had still started the week on the “backfoot” as investors waited for more clarity over the US-China talks.

Although Washington and Beijing labelled two days of talks last week as “productive” and “constructive”, a deal appeared elusive after Chinese officials unexpectedly cancelled a visit to farms in the US on Friday.

Weaker-than-expected global economic data added to investor worries over the trade dispute’s effects on the world economy.

“Despite some perceived progress in US-China trade negotiations, markets remain hesitant on this front given the stop-start nature of the evolving trade discussions, while Brexit too does not have a clear outcome yet,” said Investec chief economist Annabel Bishop.

“The rand is likely to remain volatile, with September a month that can see a lot of churns, and with the risk that slower global growth sees commodity currencies such as the rand weaken further.”

The Top-40 stock index closed 1.55% lower at 49,559 points while the broader all-share was down 1.39% at 55,622 points.

However, bucking the declines were mining shares, led by gold miners as price of bullion rose.

Shares in Sibanye-Stillwater jumped 5.68%, Gold Fields shares rose 4.39%, while AngloGold Ashanti was up 3.18%.

The yield on the benchmark 2026 government bond dipped 1 basis point to 8.285%.

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