SUNDAY TIMES - Rand weakens as investors flee risk, stocks to open lower
54.224.74.146, 54.224.74.146, 127.0.0.1
Sunday Times Business By Nqobile Dludla, 2016-02-09

Rand weakens as investors flee risk, stocks to open lower

Rands notes. File photo.
Image: Gallo Images / Foto24 / Brendan Croft

The rand weakened in early trade on Tuesday, caught in the global sell-off with investors rushing to safe-haven assets as fears of a global economic slowdown weighed.

Stocks were set to open lower at 0700 GMT, with the JSE securities exchange's Top-40 futures index down 0.73 percent.

At 0646 GMT the rand weakened 0.34 percent to 16.1950 against the dollar, compared to where it closed in New York on Monday.

"Risk currencies have not escaped the rout," said Rand Merchant Bank currency strategist John Cairns. "The rand has largely just followed the pack, although it has continued to sell-off this morning, even as everything else stabilises."'

Growing fears over a global economic slowdown have spiralled into sharp weakness in risk assets, including the rand which prompted investors to also dump financial stocks.

With many Asian markets closed for the Lunar New Year holiday, thin conditions might have amplified trading moves, market participants said. Most markets in the region will re-open from Wednesday, with Chinese markets returning next week.

Government bonds were mostly weak in early trade, with the benchmark paper due in 2026 adding 0.5 basis points at 9.345 percent.

- Reuters