UPDATE 1-South Africa's rand tumbles in broad EM slide

  • Reuters
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UPDATE 1-South Africa's rand tumbles in broad EM slide
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JOHANNESBURG, March 8 (Reuters) - South Africa's rand sunk to a new two-month low on Monday in a broad emerging market sell-off, as a rise in U.S. Treasury yields lifted the dollar and battered riskier assets.

At 1515 GMT the rand ZAR=D3 was 0.54% weaker at 15.4350 per dollar, having earlier plunged to a session-low 15.5700, its weakest since Jan. 12 in a fourth straight day of losses.

Rising yields on long-term U.S. bonds, often a proxy for global lending rates, coupled with the passing of a large fiscal stimulus and improved economic data, have wreaked havoc on risk assets, with some investors seeing it as a precursor for tighter monetary policy. now expect a substantial quickening in the pace of US recovery and inflationary consequences as the huge U.S. fiscal stimulus package comes through, with worries still that Fed QE will not be substantial or prolonged," said chief economist at Investec, Annabel Bishop.

"We continue to believe that the domestic currency will average weaker in Q2.21, around R15.40/USD, with high risks to the downside."

The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) ended slightly higher than its Friday's close, driven primarily by a rise in share prices of gold companies. A positive commentary on the outlook by retailer Massmart Holdings MSMJ.J also helped to firm up the market.

The benchmark FTSE/JSE all-share index .JALSH closed up 0.23% to end at 68,426 points, while the bluechip top-40 companies index closed up 0.19% to 62,911 points.

The JSE's gold index .JGLDX was up 4.38% as investors poured money into South African gold.

South African technology giant and index heavyweight Naspers Ltd NPNJn.J shed more than 2% following a global fall in tech stocks.

Retailer Massmart MSMJ.J , majority owned by Walmart (NYSE: WMT ) Inc WMT.N , gained 20% as investors cheered the company's commentary that it would be selling its non-core businesses to return to profit.

Bonds also took a knock, with the yield on the benchmark 2030 government issue ZAR2030= up 21 basis points to 9.53%, its highest since late September.

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