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Rand recovers after surprise rate cut

The central bank unexpectedly cut its benchmark lending rate for the first time in five years on Thursday, citing weak growth and easing inflation.

Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's rand firmed on Friday, recovering some of its losses after a surprise interest rate cut by the central bank on Thursday.

At 0648 GMT, the rand traded at R13.0100 versus the dollar, up 0.23% from its New York close on R13.0400.

The central bank unexpectedly cut its benchmark lending rate for the first time in five years on Thursday, citing weak growth and easing inflation. Most economists had expected the bank to keep rates unchanged.

"Despite surprise move from the [South African Reserve Bank], the [rand's exchange rate to the dollar] continues to hold steady," Nedbank CIB said in a note.

Stocks inched higher at 0700 GMT, with the JSE securities exchange's benchmark Top-40 index gaining 0.2% to 47,992 points.

Government bonds firmed with the yield for the benchmark instrument due in 2026 falling 4.5 basis points to 8.505%.