January 3, 2019 / 6:59 AM / 6 months ago

South Africa's rand falls to 3-month low in global selloff

JOHANNESBURG, Jan 3 (Reuters) - South Africa’s rand tumbled to its weakest in three months on Thursday as emerging market currencies were hit by a wave of risk aversion as fears about global growth intensified.

* At 0650 GMT the rand was 0.6 percent weaker at 14.5550 per dollar, recovering slightly after sliding to 14.8975 in the overnight session, its weakest since October 9.

* The rand was on the backfoot following weak factory data from China on Wednesday and saw losses deepen in tandem with a majority of global currencies after Apple said sales in China and other emerging markets fell last quarter.

* The news helped trigger a ‘flash crash’ in currency markets, stoking nervousness about global growth already dampened by the ongoing trade wrangle between the United States and China.

* Traders said light volumes in a holiday-shortened week had exacerbated the currency slide with stop-losses triggered by the breach of key technical milestones and increased volatility.

* Bonds were steady in early trade with the yield on the benchmark 2026 paper at 8.935 percent after climbing 4.5 basis points in the previous session.

* Stocks were set to open lower with the Johannesburg Stock Exchange’s Top-40 futures index down 0.3 percent, mirroring the sour start in Asian equities.

Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana Editing by Joe Brock

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