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South Africa's rand firms as virus vaccine rollout progress lifts risk appetite

  • Improved global risk appetite has supported the rand in recent weeks, gaining nearly 7% since the start of November, but concerns about a new wave of coronavirus infections and its impact on a frail local economy have limited gains.
Published December 14, 2020

JOHANNESBURG: South Africa's rand firmed against a weaker dollar early on Monday, as progress regarding the rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine lifted riskier assets globally.

At 0600 GMT, the rand traded at 15.0950 against the US dollar, 0.31% firmer than its New York close on Friday.

Progress on coronavirus vaccines cheered risk sentiment, with the first shipments of Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE's approved coronavirus vaccine in the United States on Sunday raising hopes for a faster economic recovery.

Improved global risk appetite has supported the rand in recent weeks, gaining nearly 7% since the start of November, but concerns about a new wave of coronavirus infections and its impact on a frail local economy have limited gains.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is set to address the nation later in the evening on the government's response to the pandemic, after Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said on Wednesday South Africa had entered a second wave of the new coronavirus.

South Africa is the worst-hit country on the African continent, with more than 860,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and over 23,000 deaths.

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