Photo illustration of South African bank notes displayed next to the American dollar notes in Johannesburg

South Africa's rand on the ropes as global risk aversion intensifies

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa's rand weakened for a third straight session early on Tuesday as global growth worries linked to the trade spat between China and United States and souring local sentiment kept investors eyeing key selling levels.

At 0650 GMT the rand was 0.26% weaker at 15.3450 per dollar, back tracking after a brief run to 15.2400 as technical support at 15.50 came into focus.

Demand for riskier assets has cooled since U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday he was not ready to make a trade deal with China.

Aversion to risk and emerging market assets was also stoked by defeat for Argentina's business-friendly president Mauricio Macri in primary elections, sparking a selloff that spread from the South American country to Turkey, Mexico and South Africa.

Traders said a breach of 15.50 and 15.6950 this week could see the rand's losses intensify rapidly as stop losses were triggered and investors fled to safe haven assets.

Bonds were slightly firmer, with the yield on benchmark government paper due in 2026 down 1.5 basis points to 8.47%.

On equity markets, lender Absa reported a 5% rise in first-half profit, while its core retail business managed to grow despite a faltering domestic economy.

(Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

2019-08-13 09:30:02

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