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Rand slides as US-China trade spat weighs

Risk currencies take a knock.
The rand is down 12% in August. Picture: Bloomberg

The rand weakened early on Monday, slumping to its weakest in almost a week as a spike in trade tensions between China and the United States soured global risk demand.

At 0615 GMT the rand was 0.2% weaker at 15.33 per dollar compared to a close at 15.30 on Friday in New York, tracking its Asian counterparts lower as last week’s selloff that hit equities and risk currencies spilled into the new week. US President Donald Trump on Friday heaped an additional 5% duty on some $550 billion in targeted Chinese goods, just hours after China unveiled tariffs on $75 billion worth of US goods.

Read: Trump regrets not raising tariffs on China higher, White House says

The rand has suffered in August, sliding around 12% as local pressures linked to the growing chance of a credit downgrade to junk by Moody’s, and uncertainty offshore, have stalled any long bets on the currency.

Africa’s most industrialised economy relies on exports to China and the United States for a bulk of its revenue, and the deepening spat between the two super powers risks denting the country’s already dim economic prospects.

Bonds were also weaker, with the yield on the benchmark paper due in 2026 up 4.5 basis points to 8.32%. 

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