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Rand on the ropes as global risk aversion intensifies

Bonds slightly firmer.

The 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 15.34 per dollar, back tracking after a brief run to 15.24 as technical support at 15.50 came into focus.

Demand for riskier assets has cooled since US 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.

Read: Fears of Argentina default loom large as traders dump everything

Traders said a breach of 15.50 and 15.69 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. 

Read: Absa first-half profit rises 5.4%

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