March 19, 2018 / 4:03 PM / in a year

UPDATE 1-South Africa's rand hits month-low on emerging market sell-off; stocks flat

* Rand falls on U.S. Fed meeting, trade war talk, Moody’s

* Tiger Brands shares dip on listeria outbreak hit (Adds bourse, analyst comments, updates rand)

JOHANNESBURG, March 19 (Reuters) - South Africa’s rand slipped to its weakest in more than a month on Monday as a broad sell-off of emerging markets triggered by an impending U.S. Federal Reserve meeting and fears of a global trade war added to worries about a ratings review this week.

Stocks were barely changed with Sun International and Tiger Brands weighing on gains.

At 1601 GMT the rand had weakened 0.67 percent to 12.0650 per dollar, having fallen as far as 12.1075 when New York traders came online and kept up selling pressure on the currency.

The rand rallied following Cyril Ramaphosa’s elected as leader of the ruling African National Congress in December and state president in February.

Recent economic data has also pointed to a strong recovery in the continent’s most industrialised economy.

The currency’s rally has however stalled as investors anticipated the Fed would switch to a more hawkish stance under new chairman Jerome Powell. The Fed is widely expected to hike interest rates at its Wednesday meeting.

On the domestic front, Moody’s rating decision expected on Friday has also kept a lid on demand for the rand.

“This week will be a reminder that global factors play a bigger role in SA asset prices than local factors, more so because the political dividend is now all in the price,” said analysts at Rand Merchant Bank.

In fixed income, the yield on the government’s benchmark 2026 issue rose 3 basis points to 8.175 percent, the highest level since March 5.

On the bourse, the All-share index was little changed, closing down 0.02 percent to 58,088 points. The benchmark top-40 index was also barely changed, rising up 0.03 percent to 51,435 points.

Sun International, the hotel and casino group, fell 0.92 percent to 58.89 rand after reporting a 41 percent drop in full-year profits for the 2017 financial year.

“Sun International’s results were out which I think the market was disappointed in and that is quite a knock,” said Ferdi Heyneke portfolio manager at Afrifocus securities.

Further losses came from Tiger brands, which fell 1.44 percent to 35.06 rand, after flagging a record monthly loss of up to 33 million rand ($3 million) from its meat processing unit amid the largest listeria outbreak. ($1 = 12.0363 rand) (Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana and Patricia Aruo Editing by James Macharia)

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