Rand fluctuates as investors bail out

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NewRandMoney Reuters.

Johannesburg - The rand swung between gains and losses against the dollar as foreigners sold South African debt and before central bank decisions in emerging and developed nations.

Australia, Poland, UK, the Czech Republic and the Philippines are among nations that will announce interest-rate decisions this week to February 6.

Turkey, South Africa and India were among countries that announced surprise increases last week as investors sold off emerging-market assets, including currencies and debt.

Buyers from outside Africa’s biggest economy sold 22.3 billion rand of bonds in January, the highest ever, according to FirstRand Ltd.’s Rand Merchant Bank.

“There are a number of central banks announcing interest rate decisions this week,” Ion de Vleeschauwer, chief dealer at Bidvest Bank Ltd., said by phone from Johannesburg today.

“Turkey is a bit weaker today and is still influencing sentiment toward the rand.”

The rand retreated as much as 0.7 percent to 11.1960 per dollar before trading less than 0.1 percent stronger at 11.1175 per dollar by 11:06 a.m. in Johannesburg.

The yield on benchmark government bond due December 2026 fell five basis points, or 0.05 percentage point, to 8.88 percent, the first decline in 11 days.

South Africa’s Purchasing Managers’ Index was unchanged in January at 49.9, less than the 50.2 gauge estimated in a Bloomberg survey of four analysts.

China’s PMI declined to a six-month low, the National Bureau of Statistics and China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said on February 1.

A number above 50 indicates expansion.

China is the biggest buyer of South African raw materials. - Bloomberg News

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