MASSMART: 10,278 +3 (+0.03%)
South Africa's rand slips after Trump land reform tweet, stocks up
* Land reform has unnerved some investors
* Sibanye-Stillwater rises after half-year profit
* Weak earnings hurt Woolworths and Massmart
JOHANNESBURG, Aug 23 (Reuters) - South Africa's rand fell
against the dollar on Thursday, hurt by comments by U.S.
President Donald Trump on Pretoria's land reform plans and a
stronger greenback, while stocks ended slightly higher.
Trump said on Twitter he had asked Secretary of State Mike
Pompeo to study South African "land and farm seizures" and the
"killing of farmers", prompting Pretoria to accuse Trump of
stoking racial divisions.
At 1538 GMT, the rand traded 0.95 percent weaker at
14.3075 per dollar, trimming losses after dropping more than 1.5
percent in early trade.
"Mr Trumpís tweet last night about South Africa land
redistribution, (and) a ...stronger dollar combined with
domestic concerns will not be considered all that fantastic for
local financial markets," said Standard Bank's chief trader
Trump's tweet appeared to be a response to a Fox News report
on Wednesday that focused on South Africa's land issue and
murders of white farmers.
South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Aug. 1 that
the ruling African National Congress (ANC) was forging ahead
with plans to change the constitution to allow the expropriation
of land without compensation.
Whites still own most of South Africa's land, more than two
decades after the end of apartheid.
The planned land policy has unnerved some investors already
concerned about the country's weak economic growth, ballooning
public debt and policy missteps.
In June Moody's - the last of the top three credit agencies
to rate the countryís debt at investment grade - said
uncertainty around land and mining reforms risked limiting
"It is becoming more important than ever, that the ANC and
government move to clarify how the land reform programme will be
carried out," Rand Merchant Bank analyst Mpho Tsebe said.
Government bonds firmed, with the yield on benchmark paper
due in 2026 down 4 basis point to 8.945 percent.
On the bourse, the blue chip Top-40 index was up
0.13 percent to 52,132 points, while the all-share index
was 0.14 percent higher at 58,205 points.
Shares in South African precious metals producer
Sibanye-Stillwater rose 2.15 percent after it swung
into profit for the half-year. It was boosted by the inclusion
of its U.S. platinum assets, acquired in May 2017, and higher
platinum group metals prices..
Retailers Woolworths and Massmart bucked
the market after they reported profit declines that were
affected by muted consumer spending.
Woolworths shares fell 1.84 percent, while Massmart fell
(Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana, Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo and
Patricia Aruo; editing by Andrew Roche)
First Published: 2018-08-23 08:39:26
Updated 2018-08-23 17:47:04
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