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Rand weaker before manufacturing, mining data

Data releases due later on Thursday will give clues about the pace of SA’s economic recovery.

The rand was weaker on Thursday before mining and manufacturing data releases later in the day which will give clues about the pace of economic recovery in Africa’s most industrialised economy.

At 0715 GMT, the rand traded at 14.46 versus the dollar, 0.4% weaker than its previous close.

President Cyril Ramaphosa wants to revive growth before a parliamentary election in May, but he has been hampered by severe fiscal constraints.

The rand enjoyed a strong start to the year, rallying around 8% against the dollar in January as the US Federal Reserve signalled a slowdown in its monetary tightening. But it slipped back in February as state power firm Eskom implemented severe power cuts and has fallen further in March as Britain’s messy departure from the European Union has made global investors more risk averse.

The rand is one of the most heavily traded emerging market currencies and is highly susceptible to swings in global investor sentiment.

Analysts say twists and turns in the Brexit saga will remain one of the main drivers for the rand, after Britain’s parliament rejected leaving the European Union without a deal on Wednesday, paving the way for another vote which could delay Brexit until at least the end of June.

Read: Brexit heads for delay as May tries to scare up support for deal

The Johannesburg Stock Exchange’s Top 40 Index was 0.4% weaker in early trade, as was the broader All Share Index.

Government bonds were also weaker, with the yield on the 2026 bond up 3 basis points at 8.75%. 

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