Rand weakens over 2 per cent, breaches 14/dollar as emerging markets rattled

PUBLISHED: Fri, 10 Aug 2018 16:39:02 GMT

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s rand slipped to six-week lows early on Friday and government bonds weakened sharply, as slides in the Russian rouble and Turkish lira combined with escalating global trade tensions to knock sentiment towards emerging market assets.

At 0637 GMT, the rand traded at 13.8125 per dollar, 0.86 percent weaker than its close on Thursday.

The currency had earlier in the session lost nearly 2 percent to 13.9500, it weakest since June 28, according to Thomson Reuters data.

At 16h31 CAT it was trading at 14.0951, weakening 2.92 per cent.

“The rand and other EM currencies on the back foot as sentiment sours,” Rand Merchant Bank analysts said in a note, adding that this was due to “geopolitical concerns and the negative impact of the U.S.-China trade spat on global growth.”

Analysts said Turkey’s lira and the Russian rouble were hit hardest in the sell-off.

Turkey’s lira hit a new record low against the U.S. dollar in early trade on Friday, as concerns over a widening rift with the United States persisted after a Turkish delegation returned from talks in Washington with no apparent solutions to the crisis. [EMRG/FRX]

U.S. President Donald Trump later on Friday said he had authorized higher tariffs on imports from Turkey, imposing a 20 percent duty on aluminium and 50 percent one on steel, as tensions mount between the two NATO allies over Ankara’s detention of an evangelical pastor and other diplomatic issues.

The rouble slid to two-year lows after Washington said it would impose fresh sanctions on Moscow.

In fixed income, the yield for South Africa’s benchmark 2026 bond was up 12 basis points to 8.805 percent.

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