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Rand falls as US data bolsters dollar

The currency was trading at its weakest levels since 1 April.

South African rand. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The rand slipped to a three-week low in early trade on Wednesday as robust US economic data supported the dollar.

At 0640 GMT, the rand traded at R14.3725 per dollar, 0.82% weaker than its New York close on Tuesday.

The currency was trading at its weakest levels since 1 April.

The market’s appetite for dollars was boosted after data on Tuesday showed sales of new US single-family homes jumped to a near 1-1/2-year high in March, easing concerns of a sharp slowdown in the world’s largest economy.

“Against a backdrop of a firmer USD, the local unit has traded weaker as offshore demand for USD has outweighed supply,” Nedbank analysts wrote in a note.

“Various factors - including a steadily increasing crude oil price, apparent concerns regarding the financial state of the electricity utility and the impending local elections - are weighing on the local unit,” they added.

South Africa holds parliamentary and provincial elections that will determine the country’s next president on 8 May.

In fixed income, the yield on the benchmark government bond due in 2026 rose 0.5 basis points to 8.555%.

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