MASSMART: 8,821 -129 (-1.44%)
South Africa's rand falls on subdued risk appetite
* Stock market edges lower
* Rand 0.8 pct weaker against U.S. dollar
* South Africa swings to trade deficit
JOHANNESBURG, Feb 28 (Reuters) - The South African rand fell
on Thursday as fading hopes for a U.S-China trade deal and an
unsatisfactory end to the U.S.-North Korea summit subdued demand
for emerging market currencies.
Stocks ended slightly lower, with Massmart among
the biggest decliners after the retailer reported annual
earnings down by a third and gave downbeat outlook.
At 1520 GMT the rand was 0.77 percent weaker at
14.0425 against the U.S. dollar.
"Reduced optimism over U.S.-China trade talks, an abrupt end
to a second summit between the United States and North Korea,
coupled with Brexit uncertainty among many other geopolitical
risks, are leaving investors on edge," FXTM research analyst
Lukman Otunuga said in a note.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer's comments
overnight that the issues between United States and China are
"too serious" to be resolved prodded investors into scaling back
risk as hopes of a swift resolution to the bruising U.S.-China
trade dispute waned.
Riskier assets also took a hit after an early end to a
U.S.-North Korea aimed at denuclearising the Korean peninsula,
with U.S. President Donald Trump walking away as the respective
leaders failed to reach a deal on winding back
Domestic events also weighed on sentiment, with power
utility Eskom warning that it could resume rotational power cuts
because of supply constraints.
On the data front, trade figures showed that South Africa's
trade balance swung to a deficit of 13.08 billion rand ($931.5
million) in January, from a revised 16.70 billion rand surplus
In fixed income, the yield on the benchmark government paper
due in 2026 closed 4 basis points higher at 8.7
On the stock market, the JSE Top-40 index was off
0.58 percent at 49,667 and the broader All-share index
fell 0.58 percent to 56,002.
Wal-Mart's Massmart featured on the loser board, falling 6.4
percent to 87.11 rand after posting a 32 percent drop in annual
($1 = 14.0424 rand)
(Reporting by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo
Editing by David Goodman)
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