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South Africa's rand firmer as mining output surprises

The rand edged slightly firmer against the dollar on Thursday after a surprise expansion in mining.

South African currency. Picture: Taurai Maduna/Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - The rand edged slightly firmer against the US dollar on Thursday after a surprise expansion in mining output provided a rare piece of good news for Africa's most developed economy.

At 1537 GMT the rand had firmed 0.12 percent to 11.1800 per dollar, once again testing close to a technical support of 11.1600, which it failed to hold in the previous session.

Yields on government bonds were up, the benchmark issue due in 2026 adding 7 basis points to 7.925 percent after falling to a week-and-a-half low on Wednesday.

Mining output for September rose by 5.3 percent boosted by platinum producers gradual return to productivity after a 5-month work-stoppage in the first half of the year forced the sector to its knees.

The increase was better than analysts' expectations and a Reuters poll anticipating a 3.4 percent year-on-year decline.

Earlier, Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene told a business conference that the priorities for South Africa's economy were stabilising labour relations and increasing energy supply.

His remarks come as state power utility Eskom, which provides almost all of South Africa's electricity, introduced rolling black-outs for the second time this year at the start of the month.

Lack of reliable power supply was one reason rating agency Moody's gave downgraded South Africa's credit status last Thursday.