South African rand marginally stronger in early trade

PUBLISHED: Tue, 18 Aug 2020 10:04:58 GMT

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – The South African rand was slightly firmer against the dollar early on Tuesday, as the U.S. currency extended its fall to new lows on global markets.

At 0642 GMT, the rand traded at 17.4750 versus the dollar, almost 0.2% stronger than its previous close.

Government bonds were flat, with the yield on the 2030 bond at 9.28%.

With no major domestic data releases due this week, the rand is expected to take its cue from global factors.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a further easing of the country’s strict coronavirus lockdown over the weekend, but the impact on the local currency has been muted.

Official forecasts predict gross domestic product will contract by at least 7% this year, extending the pain for an economy that was already in recession before the COVID-19 pandemic struck.

The rand had a torrid start to 2020, slumping over 20% against the dollar over the first quarter in the leadup to Moody’s downgrading the country’s sovereign credit rating to “junk” status.

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