US data & Ukraine crisis hurting rand

A strengthening US economy and tensions in eastern Europe look set to maintain rand weakness.

A strengthening US economy and tensions in eastern Europe look set to maintain rand weakness.

JOHANNESBURG - The rand weakened against the dollar on Thursday after US data boosted the growth outlook of the world's largest economy, setting the rand up for a fourth straight session of daily losses.

The rand was also depressed by global aversion to risky assets as Russia/Ukraine tensions escalated, while domestically investors were watching the outcome of wage talks in the mining sector.

At 7.30 pm local time, the rand was down 0.37 percent to 10.6294 to the dollar, off a 10.5950 close in New York on Wednesday.

Data out of the United States showed orders for long-lasting manufactured goods rose more than expected in March, boosting views of accelerating growth in the world's biggest economy.

The rand weakened to hit its lowest level in the session during afternoon local trade.

The local unit has trended weaker since the start of the week and looked likely to end the week at its March lows above 10.70.

"We retain a bullish outlook for dollar/rand given the Ukraine risks. A break above 10.6630 will expose 10.7280, however euro/dollar remains resilient," analysts at 4Cast wrote in a market note, adding however that the mixed global picture could keep the dollar/rand pair trading in ranges.

Sentiment could be damaged if the news coming out of the last day of wage negotiations between the world's top platinum producers, hit by a three-month strike in their South African mines, is negative.

The Association of Mineworkers of South Africa (Amcu) has pressed on with a work stoppage since January at Lonmin, Anglo American Platinum and Impala Platinum, knocking out 40 percent of global production.

Thursday was the last day of talks, and the union was expected to report back to its members on Friday.

Yields on government bonds were hardly moved and ended mixed, with the 2026 benchmark bond yield up by a basis point to 8.515 percent, while the 2015 note fell by the same margin to 6.84 percent.