Rand holds on to surprise gains

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Johannesburg - The rand held firm against the dollar on Wednesday, consolidating a surprisingly strong performance in the previous session after weaker-than-expected economic growth figures.

The rand was little changed at 0611 GMT, trading at 8.8434 against the greenback after New York's close of 8.845.

“The international backdrop remains negative this morning but the trend for rand gains remains strong,” Rand Merchant Bank said in a note.

Investors are likely to pay attention to a speech by Reserve Bank Governor Gill Marcus at a conference of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) at 0800 GMT.

Marcus left the repo rate unchanged at a four-decade low of 5.0 percent last week and warned that strikes in the mining sector and beyond since August would lead to job losses in a country already grappling with unemployment of over 25 percent.

Tuesday's GDP statistics drove home that point, showing that growth slowed sharply in the third quarter after a big contraction in the strike-hit mining sector.

Government bond yields slipped one basis point each to 5.46 percent for the three year bond and 7.555 percent for the longer dated 14-year paper.

Power utility Eskom is due to auction 400 million rand ($45 million) between the EL29 and ES33 bonds at 0900 GMT. - Reuters


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