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Rand trades sideways ahead of GDP data

Investor concerns over the state company, and overall economic growth, have seen the rand struggle to shake-off an emerging-market selloff that has abated in other regions, while elections due in May have also kept money on the sidelines.

Picture: Supplied

JOHANNESBURG - The rand weakened slightly early on Tuesday after some broad emerging-market momentum overnight faded with the dollar remaining close to a two-week high and investor caution ahead of local economic growth data.

At 0630 GMT, the rand was 0.14% softer at R14.2200 per dollar, compared to its close of R14.2000 in New York on Monday, with thin overnight volumes keeping the unit in a narrow range as investors awaited fourth-quarter growth data at 0930 GMT.

Africa’s most developed economy grew 1.3% in 2017 and saw contractions in the first two quarters of 2018 before bouncing back in the third quarter with a 2.2% expansion.

But in the February budget, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni sliced the 2019 growth estimate to just 1.5%, with issues at power utility Eskom the biggest threat to the economy after the debt-laden firm resumed nationwide electricity blackouts late in February.

Investor concerns over the state company, and overall economic growth, have seen the rand struggle to shake-off an emerging-market selloff that has abated in other regions, while elections due in May have also kept money on the sidelines.

In equities, Nedbank reported a 14.5% rise in full-year headline earnings, driven mostly by its business outside of the country.

Dairy company Clover said first-half profit rose 5 percent, boosted by higher sales volume and an uptick in prices.

Bonds were flat, with the yield on the benchmark paper due in 2026 steady at 8.725%.

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