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Rand firms as coronavirus lockdown eases

At 0635 GMT, the rand traded at 17.3650 to the dollar, 0.94% firmer than its previous close.

Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The rand firmed early on Monday, as the government partially lifted a lockdown that has battered an economy which was already in recession before the coronavirus crisis.

At 0635 GMT, the rand traded at 17.3650 to the dollar, 0.94% firmer than its previous close.

South Africa is letting more people outside for work, worship, exercise or shopping from Monday, and allowing mines and factories to run at full capacity to try to revive the economy.

The rand also benefited from a general improvement in sentiment towards riskier currencies, as investors looked to positive signs from China’s post-coronavirus economic recovery and wagered on an easing in Chinese-U.S. tensions.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday ordered his administration to begin the process of eliminating special U.S. treatment for Hong Kong to punish China, but left their trade deal intact.

Investors were encouraged by the Caixin/Markit Purchasing Managers Index showing marginal but unexpected improvement in Chinese factory activity last month.

In fixed income, the yield on the 10-year government bond was down 2 basis points to 8.875%.