September 25, 2018 / 3:31 PM / 2 months ago

UPDATE 1-South Africa rand on the ropes as stimulus package disappoints; stocks fall

* Rand on the ropes as traders await end-week data deluge

* Trade tension weigh on stocks (Adds latest prices)

JOHANNESBURG, Sept 25 (Reuters) - South Africa’s rand remained on the rack on Tuesday with investors unconvinced by the economic stimulus plan President Cyril Ramaphosa announced last week.

Stocks were lower as renewed trade war concerns put emerging markets on the back foot.

At 1505 GMT the rand was 0.17 percent softer at 14.41 per dollar, with a move to the 14.50 level seen as a pivot point that could increase selling on the unit towards 14.70.

The currency is down close to 20 percent year-to-date.

A statement by ratings agency Fitch on Tuesday said Ramaphosa’s turnaround plan was unlikely boost dismal economic growth significantly.

The rand’s reaction to the stimulus plan on Friday was subdued, while traders said the slew of domestic data releases due later in the week was keeping investors on the sidelines.

“The market will be most intrigued by Friday’s data points, with money supply, private-sector credit extension, trade balance and budget figures all to be released before afternoon tea,” Nema Ramkhelawan-Bhana of Rand Merchant Bank said in a note.

Bonds were also weaker, with the yield on the benchmark government bond due in 2026 up 6.5 basis points to 9.150 percent.

The blue chip top 40 index was down 0.64 percent to 50,659 points while the all share index fell 0.49 percent to 56,883 points.

“It appears that the ongoing trade tariff wars between the U.S. and China are still of concern. We saw Hong Kong markets particularly affected,” said Ferdi Heyneke, portfolio manager at Afrifocus.

Market heavyweight Naspers closed 1.95 percent lower, mirroring Tencent Holdings which ended 1.97 percent lower. Naspers has an over 31 percent stake in China’s biggest gaming and social media company.

Shares in South African petrochemicals group Sasol rose to 3.85 percent on the back of higher oil prices.

Brent crude oil prices rose to four-year highs on imminent U.S. sanctions on Iranian crude exports and the apparent reluctance of OPEC and Russia to raise output. (Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana and Patricia Aruo Editing by Ed Stoddard)

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