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JOHANNESBURG - Data showing that the South African economy had shrunk by 2.2percent during the first quarter of 2018, as well as negative global sentiment against emerging market currencies, put the rand under pressure last week.

The contraction in economic growth ignited debate that the Monetary Policy Committee would not increase interest rates to protect the rand. Nonetheless, share market prices, especially commodities and rand hedging shares, continued their upward movements.

The high oil price of around $77 (about R990) per barrel given the weak rand, indicate that further fuel price hikes are on the cards at the beginning of July.

Bond yields also came under pressure with the long bond R186 climbing more than 30 basis points (3.5percent) last week and traded on 8.97percent on Friday.

Optimism around the US-North Korea summit this week and better prospects for US-China trade negotiations had pushed share prices on global markets higher during the first part of last week.

Stock prices nevertheless came under pressure on Thursday and Friday after the Stoxx Europe 600index had dropped in reaction to Chinese and Hong Kong shares that had tumbled as emerging markets came under pressure.

The strong possibility of an increase in the bank rate by the US Federal Reserve on Wednesday will drive negative sentiment on global share markets at the beginning of this week. The Dow Jones Industrial average index had increased by 2.5percent during the week.

On the JSE, share prices had a mixed week with commodities surging higher, while bank, financial and retailers retreated.

The all share index gained 941 points (1.6percent) over the week. Listed property shares dwindled as the index traded 1percent lower.

The rand had lost more than 60cents against the dollar last week and traded on R13.10 at the close of the JSE. Against the euro, the rand depreciated by 86c, trading at R15.41 and against the pound the currency traded on R17.55. That is 97c weaker than a week ago.

Given the weaker rand and high oil prices, fuel prices remain under recovered, despite a strong rise the previous week.

- REUTERS