UPDATE 1-South African rand flat as global markets steady

(Updates prices, adds stocks)

JOHANNESBURG, Jan 24 (Reuters) – The South African rand was little changed on Friday, as global markets steadied after an outbreak of coronavirus in China

At 1506 GMT, the rand traded at 14.4200 versus the dollar, 0.14% weaker than its previous close.

The rand had tumbled along with currencies and stocks around the world on Thursday amid worries about virus. Markets steadied on Friday after the World Health Organisation said the outbreak was an emergency for China but not yet an epidemic posing an international threat.

South Africa’s Department of Health said on Thursday that port health authorities had enhanced surveillance for all travellers from Asia.

A weak growth outlook for the South African economy has sapped demand for rand assets, after the International Monetary Fund and South African Reserve Bank downgraded their growth predictions.

Stocks also recovered Thursday’s losses, with the Johannesburg Stock Exchange’s Top-40 index rising 0.72% to 51,212 points and the broader all-share index rising 0.64% to 57,261 points.

Retailers and financial services rose. Gold and platinum stocks fell as investors moved out of safe-haven assets; palladium looked set for its first weekly loss in five.

Steinhoff International’s shares rose 3.66% after its subsidiary, Pepkor Holdings posted higher revenues for the three months to end-December.

Government bonds strengthened slightly, with the yield on the 2026 bond falling 4 basis points to 8.095%. (Reporting by Alexander Winning and Emma Rumney; editing by Larry King)

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