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South Africa's rand drops on fears over new virus strains, travel bans

  • South Africa said on Friday a virus strain similar to the one reported in the United Kingdom was driving a second wave in the country, prompting some countries to include South Africa in their travel bans.
Published December 21, 2020
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JOHANNESBURG: The rand fell on Monday as some countries banned flights to nations, including Britain and South Africa, where new, fast-spreading strains of the coronavirus were detected.

At 0542 GMT, the rand traded at 14.7500 versus the dollar, 1.46% weaker than its New York close on Friday, when it extended a rally on growing global risk appetite.

However, sentiment was weighed on Monday by the introduction of stricter lockdowns in Britain, as well as a decision by several of its European neighbours to stop travel with the country after it identified a new variant of the virus.

South Africa said on Friday a virus strain similar to the one reported in the United Kingdom was driving a second wave in the country, prompting some countries to include South Africa in their travel bans.

The dour developments eclipsed news that a deal had been struck on the long-awaited US stimulus bill.

Government bonds were flat, with the yield on the instrument due in 2030 at 8.705%.

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