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Rand climbs as weak US data weighs on dollar

The rand reached a session high of 11,9615, its firmest since last Friday.

FILE: By 1527 GMT, the local unit was up 1,36 percent at 11,9670 compared with Tuesday’s close at 12,1325. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The rand gained as much as 1,4 percent against the dollar on Wednesday, after weaker-than-expected US data led investors to scale back their expectations of when the Federal Reserve will start hiking interest rates.

The rand reached a session high of 11,9615, its firmest since last Friday, making it the third strongest performer in a basket of 25 emerging market currencies tracked by Reuters after the Russian rouble and the Brazilian real.

By 1527 GMT, the local unit was up 1,36 percent at 11,9670 compared with Tuesday's close at 12,1325.

"We had some fairly weak data out of the U.S. and this is just guys squaring out of (dollar) positions before (US)non-farm payrolls on Friday," Investec trader David Gracey said.

The dollar fell against major currencies as disappointing data on US manufacturing and jobs growth raised bets the Fed might refrain from raising interest rates until late 2015 at the earliest.

South African government bonds mirrored the stronger rand, and the yield on the benchmark 2026 government bond fell 9 basis points to 7,725 percent.