South African stocks fell more than 2 percent at the markets yesterday as the rand depreciated further against the dollar after hitting its highest level since January 30th last week. Photo: AP
South African stocks fell more than 2 percent at the markets yesterday as the rand depreciated further against the dollar after hitting its highest level since January 30th last week. Photo: AP

Markets on the backfoot as mutated Covid-19 spreads across the world

By Siphelele Dludla Time of article published Dec 22, 2020

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South African stocks fell more than 2 percent at the markets yesterday as the rand depreciated further against the dollar after hitting its highest level since January 30th last week.

The rand slumped 2.17 percent to R14.86 against the greenback by lunchtime on Monday as a fast-spreading mutation of the Covid-19 detected in the UK dented investors' appetite for riskier assets.

The rand had firmed on Friday as global risk appetite linked to a record stimulus package in the United States and a buoyant Chinese economy continued to offset worries about domestic growth.

But those gains were undone yesterday as more countries reported mutation of the Covid-19 in its second wave across the globe, including in South Africa.

More than 16 million Britons were requested to stay at home as a full lockdown came into force and several countries including Germany and France issued travel bans on the UK.

Domestic investors have also continued to worry about the rapid spread of infections and the economic impact of further restrictions as South Africa is in the midst of a second wave.

The $900 billion Covid-19 relief package agreed to by the US congress seems to have not stimulated any risk sentiment among investors.

The JSE All Share Index fell 2.69 percent to 58 177 points while the Top40 Index was 2.55 percent weaker to 53,297 points as almost all the stocks were in the red.

The mining index was 1.98 percent weaker to 53 910 points, general retailers fell 3.38 percent to 4 462 points while the banks index shed 6.43 percent to 6 659 points.

Sasol fell by 5.8 percent to R130.06 per share, Redefine slumped 8.5 percent to R3.43 per share, while PPC eased 7.6 percent to R1.45 per share.

BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE

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