South Africa’s rand falls on global growth fears

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters): The South African rand slipped on Tuesday, as fears about the health of the global economy dampened appetite for riskier emerging market assets.

At 1435 GMT, the rand was 0.2 percent weaker versus the dollar at 13.8575.

The International Monetary Fund’s warning of a darkening economic outlook after China’s confirmation of its slowest growth rate in nearly 30 years were among factors weighing on investor sentiment.

“Ongoing uncertainty over the Sino-U.S. trade war and a cooling Chinese economy are likely to push risk-averse investors towards safe-haven currencies,” said Jee-A van der Linde, an economist at NKC African Economics.

“The rand is expected to remain under pressure.”

The rand fell by more than 13 percent against the dollar in 2018 but is up around 3.5 percent since the end of last year, helped by a retreat in the dollar in early January.

On the Johannesburg stock market, the Top-40 index was down 0.4 percent at 47,865 points, while the broader All-share index fell 0.3 percent to 53,974 points.

South African government bonds bucked the weaker trend, edging higher as the yield on the benchmark 2026 instrument fell 4.5 basis points to 8.855 percent.