File Image: IOL
File Image: IOL

Miserable week for the rand and stocks

By Dr Chris Harmse Time of article published Jun 18, 2018

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JOHANNESBURG - The rand fell for five consecutive days last week as weak economic data and US President Donald Trump’s tariff move on China had devastating effects on the currency, share prices and bond rates.

On Friday alone the all share index on the JSE lost 835 points, or 1.43percent, while the rand traded on R13.49 to the dollar. That was 40cents, or 2.8percent, weaker than the previous Friday and almost 100c down on the R12.52 a fortnight earlier.

Following in the wake of the negative economic growth data of -2.2percent recorded during the first quarter (quarter-on-quarter), StasSA announced last Wednesday that the country’s retail sales had increase by a mere 0.5percent in April.

On Thursday, data showed that the RMB/BER business confidence index had fallen from 45 points during the fourth quarter of 2017 to 39 points in the first quarter of this year. The index has dropped for 12 quarters in a row.

StatsSA also announced that mining production had decreased by 4.4percent in April compared with the same month last year. This weak economic data, as well as the re-introduction of load shedding by Eskom had a negative effect on bond rates. The R186 had increased by 5 points, or 5.5percent, to 9.02percent over the week.

Optimism around the US-North Korea summit at the beginning of last week quickly turned to negative sentiment on global financial markets after Trump had pledged another round of higher tariffs of $50billion (about R664.95bn) on Chinese imports on Friday.

China immediately announced an intention to retaliate within the next two weeks.

The Dow Jones industrial average index on Wall Street opened in negative territory on Friday and traded more than 200 points lower. Most European and Asian bourses also closed lower.

On the JSE, share prices came under strain. The the all share index ended the week 1 percent lower, the Industrial 25 index was down by 0.3percent, while the Resources 10 index dropped 2.7percent from the previous Friday.

Listed property index continued its woes and lost another 1.6percent last week. It is now 5.5percent lower since the middle of last month.


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