South African Rand coins are seen in this photo illustration
Johannesburg - The rand fell to its weakest in three weeks on Thursday after data showed private sector activity contracted for the first time in nine months in April, while a hawkish statement from the US central bank added to the bearish sentiment.

By 5.15pm, the rand was trading 0.9 percent weaker at R13.5675, a level not seen since April 14.

The Standard Bank Purchasing Managers’ Index, compiled by Markit, edged down to 50.3 in April from 50.7 in March as new orders declined in the wake of a cabinet reshuffle that rattled investor confidence.

“The rand continues to lose ground against many of its trading partners as money continues to drip out the country in search of greener pastures - higher yield, more political stability - elsewhere,” Standard Bank’s trader, Warrick Butler, said.