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Rand edges firmer ahead of manufacturing data

Stocks open slightly lower, with the Top-40 futures index down 0.15%.

South Africa’s rand edged firmer on Tuesday, continuing to eke out gains in subdued trade as optimism over the domestic economy and short-buying ahead of inflation numbers in the United States spurred demand.

At 0640 GMT, the rand was 0.06% firmer at 11.80 per dollar, compared with a close of 11.82 overnight in New York.

While the rand benefited from a global recovery in risk assets after last week’s sell-off, triggered by figures showing rising US wages, confidence in the local economy continued to draw buyers.

Manufacturing data for January due at 1100 GMT is expected to show the sector expanded 2.5% year on year. Last Tuesday gross domestic product grew by more than expected, by 3.1% quarter on quarter.

Inflation figures from the United States due later in the session could wobble the rand’s approach toward 11.50 mark seen as a target for bullish bets on the currency.

Stocks were set to open slightly lower at 0700 GMT, with the JSE securities exchange’s Top-40 futures index down 0.15%.

In fixed income, the yield for the benchmark government bond due in 2026 was up 1 basis point at 8.075 %.

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