South African rand surrenders gains as economy concerns weigh
* Rand retreats after rising earlier in session
* Naspers rebounds, taking the bourse up with it
* Exxaro 2nd biggest gainer after results
(Adds latest rand move)
JOHANNESBURG, Aug 16 (Reuters) - South Africa's rand
surrendered its earlier gains in late trade on Thursday due to
lingering concerns over the economy, while a rebound in market
heavyweight Naspers brought some relief on the bourse.
The rand had earlier in the session gained more than 1
percent as emerging markets bounced back on news that a Chinese
delegation will travel to the United States in August for trade
The prospect of the world's two biggest economic powers
stepping back from a looming trade war boosted investor
sentiment after a worrying week for emerging markets in the wake
of a currency slump in Turkey.
But the gains were erased in late afternoon trade, then
reversed in the evening. At 1645 GMT, the rand traded
1.15 percent weaker at 14.73 versus the dollar.
"In times of risk-off sentiment the focus is on the risks
for the South African economy and that is putting pressure on
the rand," Commerzbank analysts wrote in a note.
The currency had slid more than 2 percent on Wednesday after
ratings agency Moody's warned that the pace of South Africa's
fiscal consolidation had slowed and retail sales data
disappointed, underlining the fragility of the economy.
The rand is down around 3 percent this week, also hit by
investors' move to dump assets seen as risky in the wake of the
Turkish lira's plunge. The lira has weakened around
34 percent against the dollar this year.
The rand, one of the most-traded emerging market currencies,
is highly susceptible to swings in sentiment on global markets.
Government bonds firmed, with the yield on the benchmark
government bond maturing in 2026 down 2.5 basis points
at 8.995 percent.
On the equities market, indexes rose, helped by a number of
solid earnings reports and the rebound of market heavyweight
Naspers from the previous session's low following internet giant
Tencent's results. Naspers stock rose 2.79 percent to
The Johannesburg All-share index closed 1.65
percent stronger at 56,562 points, while the blue-chip top 40
index climbed 1.8 percent to 50,506 points.
Exxaro Resources Ltd was the second biggest gainer
on the All-share index after reporting an 8 percent jump in
half-year profit. It surged 7.99 percent to 140 rand.
Standard Bank closed 1.59 percent higher after
posting a 5 percent increase in half-year profit.
(Reporting by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo, Ed Stoddard and Nqobile
Editing by Alison Williams and David Holmes)
First Published: 2018-08-16 17:36:35
Updated 2018-08-16 18:55:42
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