June 1, 2018 / 4:20 PM / 5 months ago

UPDATE 1-South African rand heads for weekly loss after downbeat PMI; stocks rise

(Updates throughout)

JOHANNESBURG, June 1 (Reuters) - South Africa’s rand was set for a loss of around 1 percent against the dollar this week, as a manufacturing survey suggested that the economy was not yet firing on all cylinders under President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The rand traded mostly in positive territory in a volatile session on Friday, but it could not make up for losses earlier in the week that were linked to disappointing economic data and concerns over U.S. trade policy.

Stocks rose, lifted by gains for bourse heavyweight Naspers and ArcelorMittal’s South Africa unit.

At 1545 GMT the South African currency was trading at 12.6425 to the dollar, up 0.4 percent on the day but down 1.1 percent since the end of last week.

Purchasing Managers’ Index data released on Friday showed that conditions in South Africa’s manufacturing sector deteriorated slightly last month.

That added to evidence that the economic rebound under Ramaphosa - who replaced scandal-plagued Jacob Zuma in February - remains fragile. On Thursday data showed South Africa’s trade balance for the year swung to a deficit compared with a surplus last year.

“The ‘Ramaphoria’ effect is waning and dark clouds in the form of trade protectionism have started to form,” NKC Research economists said in a note, referring to investor optimism surrounding Ramaphosa’s election as president.

They said the weaker PMI reading in May could be linked to the U.S. rejection of South Africa’s application for an exemption from import tariffs.

South Africa’s benchmark Top-40 equities index added 2.2 percent to 50,875 points, while the wider All-share index climbed 2.0 percent to 57,282 points.

Among the best-performing stocks, ArcelorMittal’s South Africa unit gained over 11 percent, extending a surge from earlier in the week when it announced the sale of its stake in trading and shipping company MIHBV. Internet and entertainment group Naspers closed more than 5 percent higher.

Metair fell more than 3 percent after it offered to buy Slovenian car battery maker Tovarna Akumulatorskih Baterij (TAB) in a $350 million deal. (Reporting by Patricia Aruo and Alexander Winning, editing by Larry King)

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