BRAIT:  2,630   -105 (-3.84%)  23/02/2019 00:00

South African rand treads water; Brait sends stocks lower

(Updates throughout)

JOHANNESBURG, Jan 14 (Reuters) - The South African rand was little changed on Monday as investors awaited closely watched data releases including mining output later in the week, while a plunge in investment firm Brait sent stocks lower.

At 1550 GMT the rand was at 13.8100 against the dollar, more than 0.1 percent stronger than its previous close.

The South African currency has started 2019 on the front-foot, rallying more than 3.5 percent against the dollar. But it remains vulnerable to swings in global risk appetite as well as uncertainty surrounding this year's parliamentary election.

Later this week investors will scrutinise domestic data releases including mining output and retail sales, as well as a repo rate decision by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB).

Economists polled by Reuters expect the SARB to leave the rate on hold, while retail sales and mining are seen expanding modestly.

Africa's most industrialised economy emerged from recession in the third quarter last year, but the recovery has been halting since.

On the Johannesburg bourse, Brait plunged 21.48 percent to 25 rand after its British fashion chain New Look announced a deal with creditors to cut 1 billion pounds ($1.3 billion) off its debts, its latest turnaround attempt.

It was the biggest decliner on the All-Share Index, which fell 0.31 percent to 53,485 points.

Ron Kiplin, portfolio manager at Cratos Capital, which does not hold Brait shares but researches the stock, said the restructuring served to show the weakness of Brait's position in terms of both capital and liquidity. ($1 = 0.7786 pounds) (Reporting by Alexander Winning and Nqobile Dludla; Editing by Catherine Evans)

2019-01-14 18:09:23

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