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South Africa's rand weakens as risk sentiment wavers

(Updates prices)

JOHANNESBURG, March 1 (Reuters) - The South African rand extended losses against a stronger dollar on Friday, after breaching the 14.00 to the dollar mark in the previous session, as doubts over the fate of a U.S.-China trade deal curbed appetite for risk.

Stocks got a boost from relatively upbeat results from property firm Hyprop Investment Ltd, drinks maker Distell Group and African Rainbow Minerals.

At 1530 GMT the rand was 0.64 percent weaker at 14.1800 per dollar after weakening below the 14 to the dollar level on Thursday. The dollar was buoyed by upbeat fourth-quarter growth in the world's top economy.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday fuelled concerns over trade talks between the United States and China after warning that he could walk away from a trade deal with China if it was not good enough, although his economic advisers touted "fantastic" progress towards an agreement.

"When looking at the holistic picture, a potential positive outcome from the U.S./China trade talks could be the last 'good news' for emerging markets for a while, as geopolitical tension, declining global GDP, and populism all threaten risk appetite," said Bianca Botes, an analyst at Peregrine Treasury.

In fixed income, the yield on benchmark government bond due in 2026 closed 4.5 basis points higher at 8.745 percent.

On the bourse, the Johannesburg all-share index rose 0.63 percent to 56,203 points, while the Top-40 index gained 0.35 percent to 49,841 points.

Growth-hungry South African drinks maker Distell closed 3.77 percent stronger to 124.52 rand after reporting a 9.1 percent increase in half-year group revenue.

African Rainbow Minerals rose 1.93 percent after reporting increasing its interim dividend by 60 percent and reporting a 13 percent increase in headline earnings.

Hyprop said half-year revenue rose to 1.63 billion rand from 1.54 billion rand, sending its shares up 5.86 percent to 82.03 rand.

On the decliners' side, shares in MTN Group fell 5.41 percent, a day after the mobile phone group announced guidance for annual profit that was lower than forecast.

(Reporting by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo and Nqobile Dludla; Editing by Alison Williams)

2019-03-01 18:38:40

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