October 24, 2018 / 4:01 PM / a month ago

UPDATE 2-South Africa's rand, bonds slump after budget disappoints

* Rand weakens on budget deficit

* Naspers falls nearly 4 pct, leads stocks to 16-month low (Updates figures)

JOHANNESBURG, Oct 24 (Reuters) - South Africa’s rand fell more than 1 percent and bonds slid on Wednesday after Finance Minister Tito Mboweni delivered a medium term budget with wider deficit estimates and lower growth forecasts.

At 1533 GMT, the rand traded at 14.4975 versus the dollar, 1.65 percent weaker on the day, compared to a close of 14.2625 in New York.

Government bonds were also weaker, with the yield on the benchmark instrument due in 2026 up 6.5 basis points at 9.230 percent.

Mboweni earlier delivered a bleak maiden budget, raising the deficit estimate for the 2018/19 fiscal year to 4 percent of GDP, while halving the growth forecast for this year to 0.7 percent.

“The budget deficit erased the confidence of the market and the rand sold off quite sharply. The rand remains on the defensive,” said ETM economist Halen Bothma.

Investors remained skittish as Africa’s most industrialised economy struggles with ballooning debt that risks pushing its sovereign credit ratings deeper into “junk” territory.

Rating’s agency Moody’s is expected to update its assessment this week. Moody’s is the last of the top three rating agencies to have Pretoria’s debt at investment grade.

In equities, the all share index fell 0.57 percent to 50,877 points while the blue chip top 40 index was 0.75 percent lower at 44,669 points.

Naspers fell 3.96 percent to 2,575 rand after Tencent Holdings, in which it has a 31 percent shareholding, closed 0.75 percent lower on reports that Chinese authorities has halted issuing gaming licences.

The gold index fell 1.45 percent as prices slipped on a firmer dollar. (Reporting by Patricia Aruo and Nomvelo Chalumbira Editing by Joe Brock)

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