Picture: 123RF/LEON SWART
Picture: 123RF/LEON SWART

The rand had dropped by more than 1.5% against the dollar by Friday afternoon, but fared better against the pound, as markets digested worrying economic data out of China and France.

Chinese industrial production came in at 5.4% compared to a 5.9% forecast, while retail sales came in at 8.1% compared to an expected 8.8%.

France’s purchasing managers’ index fell below 50 points for the first time since 2014, while Germany’s industrial output grew at it slowest rate in four years.

The trade war is clearly having an effect, said BK Asset Management MD Boris Schlossberg. 

Oanda analyst Stephen Innes said: “Investors are right to be worried about global growth as the Chinese economy continues to stutter. The data lends support to the market’s view that things will get worse in China before they get better, despite investment rising.”

At 2.15pm, the rand was 1.5% down against the dollar at R14.382, 0.83% against the euro at R16.2351, and 0.67% against the pound at R18.0645. The euro was 0.62% softer at $1.1288.

The R186 bond was last seen at 9.19% from 9.13%.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May continues her battle in Brussels, although signs point to frustrated EU officials, who complained they were being given little direction as to what London wants.  May is seeking further concessions from the EU in order to win over a divided UK Parliament.