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Rand dips after GDP data, stocks up

Statistics South Africa said that first-quarter gross domestic product contracted 2% from the previous three months, led by declines in mining and manufacturing.

South African rand. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The rand fell against the US dollar on Tuesday as data showed the domestic recession deepened in the first quarter of this year - before the coronavirus pandemic hit the country and put further strain on the economy.

At 1500 GMT, the rand was 0.65% weaker at R17.3725 per dollar.

Statistics South Africa said that first-quarter gross domestic product contracted 2% from the previous three months, led by declines in mining and manufacturing.

The economic outlook remains gloomy after a strict coronavirus lockdown imposed in late March piled more pressure on businesses and consumers.

“Not much has changed since Q1, except that thousands of jobs have most likely been lost, numerous businesses have most likely closed shop, while the country continues to struggle with a severe health crisis,” said Jacques Nel of research firm NKC African Economics.

Stocks this week continued to buck the global trend with the FTSE/JSE All Share index going up 0.41% to close at 54,362 points on Tuesday. The top 40 companies index closed up 0.51% at 50,175 points.

Bonds weakened, with the yield on the benchmark government issue due in 2030 up 9.5 basis points to 9.265%.

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