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Rand tumbles as emerging markets sell-off continues

Johannesburg – The JSE closed weaker on Friday, as emerging market currencies led by the rand tumbled against the greenback.

The local unit weakened to its lowest level since December 15, 2017 as investors priced in the high probability of the South African Reserve Bank keeping the repo rate unchanged in upcoming monetary policy committee meetings.

The rand softened to a session low of R13.28/$ before it recovered to trade at R13.13/$ at 17:00.

The JSE traded under pressure for the entirety of today’s trading session, with rand sensitive stocks taking the biggest knock. South African benchmark 10-year yields rose to a session high of 9.06% as investors sold off South African bonds, along with bonds from emerging markets such as Turkey and Argentina.

Banks such as Nedbank [JSE:NED], Standard Bank [JSE:SBK] and Capitec Holdings [JSE:CPI] lost 1.02%, 0.86% and 1.22% respectively.

Index heavyweight Naspers [JSE:NPN] lost 2.4% to close at R3 339.99 per share, but this was mainly as a result of Tencent Holdings which closed 3.31% weaker on the Hang Seng earlier on.

Retailer Truworths [JSE:TRU] closed at R83.75 per share after losing 0.42%, while Mr Price [JSE:MRP] was 2.35% weaker to close at R242.50 per share.

Other top losers on the day included EOH Holdings [JSE:EOH] which lost 2.48% to close at R31.45 per share, Exxaro [JSE:EXX] which shed 2.5% to close at R132.67 per share, as well as Royal Bafokeng Platinum [JSE:RBP] which lost 2.22% to close at R23.34 per share.

Gold miner Harmony Gold [JSE:HAR] posted gains of 2.4% to close at R47.50 per share, while Gold Fields [JSE:GFI] inched up 1% to close at R47.50 per share. Rand hedges Richemont [JSE:CFR] and Sappi [JSE:SAP] closed 1.64% and 2.06% weaker respectively.

The JSE Top-40 Index closed the day 0.3% weaker and the broader All-Share Index lost 0.29%. The Resources index inched up 0.51%. However, the industrials and Financials indices lost 0.55% and 0.51% respectively.

Gold slid earlier on to a session low of $1 293.28 per ounce but it managed to bounce to trade firmer on the day when the JSE closed. At 17:00 it was trading at $1 298.68/Ooz. Platinum was trading 0.51% firmer at $904.27/oz, while palladium was 0.32% softer at $1 010.13/oz.

Brent crude eased from its overnight highs to trade at $76.64 per barrel at 17:00.

Bitcoin traded marginally softer on the day to trade at $7581.40 per coin at 17:00, down 1.3% for the day. Ethereum was 1.63% weaker at $596.13/coin.

* The JSE market update is from GT247.coman online broker and authorised financial services provider.

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