Rand a little firmer as market eyes US-China trade war

The rand was slightly firmer on Monday morning, recovering from some weekend losses after hopes of a US-China trade deal receded a little.

US President Donald Trump threatened to levy new tariffs on Chinese imports on Friday, despite plans for Chinese negotiators to travel to Washington this week in a bid for a trade deal. Reports have suggested that China may now withdraw from the talks.

Although this could just be another negotiating tactic from Trump, markets do not like being caught by surprise, hence the risk-off frenzy at the weekend, said London Capital Group head of research Jasper Lawler.

On Monday morning, the rand was about 12c weaker against the dollar than its close on Friday, but had clawed back some of its losses.

At 9.40am the rand was 0.25% firmer at R14.4656/$, 0.1% up at R16.1927/€ and 0.48% stronger at R18.9767/£. The euro was at $1.1191.

The bid on the benchmark R186 government 10-year bond was at 8.57% from 8.545%.

Local focus this week is on Wednesday’s national polls, and analysts expect this could subdue trade in the local currency in the early part of the week.

There is also some local data to give markets direction, with mining and manufacturing data for March due on Thursday. Analysts are closely watching the numbers in order to gauge the effects of load-shedding during the period.

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Source: businesslive.co.za