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News in Brief

Rand knocked lower by Fitch credit rating cut

The rand fell against the dollar on Friday, booking its softest week in a month after a credit rating cut by Fitch Ratings added to investors’ nervousness about holding the risky currency. Investors on the hunt for euros drove the rand to give up 2 percent against the euro during the session. The rand broke through the week’s range to a month low of R8.7446 in late afternoon trade on Friday, making it the biggest loser against the dollar in a basket of emerging market currencies tracked by Reuters. – Reuters

First-time buyers pile into property

There is increasing interest in residential property from first-time buyers with mortgage originator ooba reporting a 3.9 percentage point year-on-year increase in first-time buyers to 52.7 percent among its total applications in December. FNB reported last week that average house prices rose year on year by 5 percent in 2012 but was expected to increase by an average of only 2.5 percent this year because of weak economic conditions. – Roy Cokayne

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