Rand soft, NUMSA strike weighs

Johannesburg - South Africa's rand edged down against the dollar on Wednesday as a nation-wide engineering strike entered its second day, weighing on investor sentiment in Africa's top economy.

The local unit continued a poor run this week against the greenback, falling 0.15 percent to 10.6875 rand per dollar by 08:02 SA time.

The National Union of Metalworkers striking workers march in central Johannesburg. The union wants a 12 percent salary increase, the scrapping of labour brokers, and a one-year bargaining agreement. Photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi. Credit: Reuters

The rand lost over a third of a percent against the dollar on Tuesday after the striking Numsa union said its members would revert to a higher wage demand after negotiations with employers “collapsed”.

“This industrial action will not be resolved quickly given Numsa's political motivations for striking - it is not just about wages,” NKC Independent Economists said in a morning market note.

The strike will cost the economy more than 300 million rand or 0.014 percent of GDP a day, an employers body said..

The strike has also affected construction at two of state-owned electricity supplier Eskom's power stations, which won an interdict late on Tuesday preventing its employees from downing tools.

Government bonds were largely unmoved, with yields on the shorter paper due next year as well as that on the bond due in 2026 flat, at 6.720 percent and 8.345 percent respectively. - Reuters