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Stocks, bond, rand weaken as current account deficit grows

The poor numbers will dampen the economy despite reported GDP growth.

South Africa’s rand weakened more than 1% on Thursday as bonds and stocks fell, after a report showed the country’s current account deficit widened in the third quarter, dimming investor appetite for the currency.

The rand was trading at 14.08 per dollar by 1040 GMT, 1.66% weaker. It earlier reached 14.09.

South Africa’s current account deficit widened to 3.5% of gross domestic product in the third quarter from 3.4% in the second quarter, the South African Reserve Bank said.

Read: Q3 current account deficit widens as trade surplus narrows

“The current account figure has added momentum to the rand’s slide from earlier in the session. The figures talk to the vulnerability faced by South Africa to portfolio outflows, especially in a environment where the Fed is tightening and there are worries about Eskom,” said ETM Analytics Halen Bothma.

Read: Eskom’s looming ‘death spiral’ menaces economy

The poor numbers will dampen the economy’s momentum after data on Tuesday showed South Africa emerged from its first recession in almost a decade in the third quarter.

Government bonds also weakened, with the yield on the benchmark bond due in 2026 rising 9 basis points to 9.06%.

The All Share index was 2.78% lower at 50 273 points. The blue-chip Top 40 index was down 3.02% at 44 297 points.

Retailer Steinhoff International Holdings lost 10.11% to R1.60 after it reported that it delayed publishing its 2017 and 2018 financial statements, citing delays to a forensic investigation being conducted by auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Read: Steinhoff shares tumble after accounts, PwC probe delayed

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