UPDATE 1-South African rand slides, stocks fall

  • Reuters
  • Forex News
UPDATE 1-South African rand slides, stocks fall

(Adds latest figures, analyst comments)

JOHANNESBURG, Nov 30 (Reuters) - South Africa's rand weakened around 1% on Monday, recording a third straight session of losses, as investors continued to take profits from last week's rally, while mixed domestic economic data also kept the currency on the back foot.

At 1500 GMT the rand was 0.8% weaker at 15.3625 per dollar, having fallen as much as 1% earlier to a session-low 15.3975.

South Africa recorded a trade surplus of 36.13 billion rand ($2.36 billion) in October after a revised 33.36 billion rand surplus in September. The budget deficit was wider, at 49.73 billion rand, for the month. currency has defied credit downgrades, which have pushed South Africa's rating deeper into junk, rallying to pre-COVID-19 levels as optimism over progress on a coronavirus vaccine has increased risk appetite globally. But in the past few sessions the fragile domestic economy has come back into focus.

"Strong risk-on financial market sentiment this month as vaccine news improves each week masks the deterioration in SA's credit quality, and so brings a false sense of security on the market reaction to SA's rating downgrades," said Annabel Bishop, chief economist at Investec.

Bonds also weakened, with the yield on the benchmark 2030 paper ZAR2030= adding 3 basis points to 8.990%.

On the stock market, the benchmark all-share index .JALSH closed down 1.26% at 57,092 points and the blue-chip companies index .JTOPI ended the day 1.22% lower at 52,376 points.

"The Moody's downgrade negatively impacted our market and banks are getting the worst of it," said Greg Davis, a trader with Cratos Capital.

The banking sector .JBANK weakened 3.86% with Standard Bank SBKJ.J down 4.83% to 121.14 rand and Nedbank NEDJ.J 5.54% lower at 122.50 rand.

Credit rating agencies Fitch and Moody's lowered South Africa's sovereign ratings deeper into junk territory on Nov. 20. S&P Global (NYSE: SPGI ) affirmed its rating, which was already two notches below investment grade.

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