Financial and operational problems at Eskom are weighing on government bonds and the rand, which was the worst-performing emerging-market currency on Wednesday. The power utility, which is expecting to report a R20bn loss for the year to end-March and is battling to service more than R400bn in debt, started load shedding on Sunday after a number of generators tripped and electricity demand exceeded supply. The department of public enterprises told parliament on Wednesday that Eskom was bankrupt and would run out of money in two months in the absence of government help. Finance minister Tito Mboweni is expected to make funding available to Eskom in his budget next week. The rand weakened 1.6% to R13.9952/$, making it the biggest loser among emerging-market peers, most of which were steady on the day amid rising hopes for a trade deal between the US and China.

"This is SA-specific," said Tony van Dyk, a trader at TreasuryOne. "The big negative is the continued load shedding. The...

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