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Rand steady, focus on US-China talks

As of 1530 GMT, the rand was largely unchanged at 14.7990 per dollar.

Picture: Pixabay.com

JOHANNESBURG - The rand steadied in afternoon trade on Tuesday, while stocks fell, as traders awaited further developments in trade negotiations between the United States and China.

As of 1530 GMT, the rand was largely unchanged at 14.7990 per dollar.

The outcome of US-China trade talks remained the key driver, with Beijing saying negotiators from both sides held a phone call trying to hammer out a preliminary “phase one” deal.

“The apparent progress on the phase one trade talks between the US and China has provided the markets with some comfort and thus far, these factors have outweighed the various local factors weighing on the local economy,” Nedbank analysts said in a note. “The rand has proven to be resilient so far.”

The International Monetary Fund warned on Monday that South Africa faced a prolonged period of weak growth if the government did not implement promised reforms quickly, especially a turnaround of cash-strapped power utility Eskom.

On the bourse, the banking sector led the market lower.

The benchmark JSE Top-40 Index fell 1.3% to 49,818.42 points while the broader All-Share Index was down 1.19% to 56,074.74 points.

The banking index tumbled 2.77%. Leading decliners were Firstrand, down 3.38% to R62.25, and Discovery off 3.22% to R119.02.

In fixed income, the yield on the benchmark paper due in 2026 added 1 basis point to 8.475%.