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South Africa's rand firms on easing trade tensions, stocks down
(Updates prices, rewrites throughout)
JOHANNESBURG, Aug 13 (Reuters) - South Africa's rand firmed
on Tuesday, helped by improved risk appetite on signs of easing
trade friction after the United States said it would delay
tariffs on some Chinese products and both sides agreed to
Stocks closed slightly weaker, weighed down by the gold
At 1535 GMT the rand was 1.0% firmer at 15.1525 per
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said President
Donald Trump's administration will delay 10% tariffs on certain
Chinese products, including laptops and cell phones, that had
been scheduled to start next month.
Riskier assets gained on the news, which was viewed as a
significant concession in the trade conflict between Washington
Despite the improved global risk appetite, a souring local
economic and political atmosphere remained a risk to the rand.
Worries about the impact on the economy of heavily-indebted
state-owned energy firm Eskom and negative commentary from
credit rating agencies, and an ongoing legal wrangle between
President Cyril Ramaphosa and the anti-corruption ombudsman,
have seen the rand shed nearly 7% in two weeks.
On Monday, Ramaphosa won the latest round of a legal battle
with South Africa's anti-corruption watchdog, as a judge delayed
implementation of findings linked to its claim that he misled
parliament about a leadership campaign donation.
But the lingering charges have raised fears Ramaphosa may
distracted from his pledge to revive stalling economic growth.
"The ongoing battle between the Public Protector and the
president will continue to weigh on sentiment, further delaying
investment decisions and putting more downside risks to our 0.5%
growth for the year," RMB analyst Mpho Tsebe said in a note.
On the bourse, the Johannesburg All-Share index
closed 0.32% weaker at 55,192 points, while the Top-40 index
ended the day down 0.13% to 49,448 points.
Bullion stocks fell 8.98% as spot gold slipped on
the trade news.
Among the fallers, Gold Fields was down 10.10% at
84.28 rand, Harmony Gold weakened 7.96% to 43.00 rand
and AngloGold Ashanti dropped 7.89% to 292.54 rand.
Bonds firmed, with the yield on benchmark government paper
due in 2026 down 7.5 basis points to 8.41%.
(Reporting by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo and Tanisha Heiberg,
Editing by Angus MacSwan)
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