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Rand little changed as coronavirus cases rise faster

At 0657 GMT, the rand traded at 17.24 versus the dollar, 0.1% stronger than its closing level on Friday.

Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - The rand was little changed early on Monday, despite health officials recording a steeper rise in coronavirus infections over the weekend.

The country reported 6,334 new cases on Sunday after reporting 7,210 new cases on Saturday, among the steepest daily rises to date.

Health experts say the local virus outbreak is yet to reach its peak, after authorities delayed a surge in infections by imposing a strict lockdown in late March.

At 0657 GMT, the rand traded at 17.24 versus the dollar, 0.1% stronger than its closing level on Friday.

The yield on the 2030 government bond was 1.5 basis points higher at 9.20%, reflecting slightly lower bond prices.

The coronavirus crisis is expected to take a heavy toll on Africa’s most industrialised economy, which was already in recession in the final quarter of 2019 and could contract by 7% in 2020 according to a central bank estimate.

First-quarter gross domestic product data will be released on Tuesday. Current account and budget data are also due to be published later in the week.