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Markets

South Africa's rand firms as Chinese trade data lifts riskier currencies

The rand traded at 18.0600 per dollar, 0.2pc firmer than its previous close. South Africa entered a recession
14 Apr 2020
  • The rand traded at 18.0600 per dollar, 0.2pc firmer than its previous close.
  • South Africa entered a recession in the final quarter of last year as power cuts by state utility Eskom took a toll on the economy.

JOHANNESBURG: South Africa's rand firmed against the dollar early on Tuesday, in line with a rally in riskier currencies as China's trade data painted a less gloomy picture of the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic than markets had feared.

At 0630 GMT, the rand traded at 18.0600 per dollar, 0.2pc firmer than its previous close.

China's March exports fell 6.6pc from a year earlier, compared with a forecast for a 14pc drop and imports fell by less than 1pc, compared with a 9.5pc drop anticipated by economists.

Analysts, however, expect the rand to remain volatile, with a grim outlook for South Africa's economy after the country imposed some of the toughest restrictions on the continent to curb the spread of the new coronavirus, including a 5-week lockdown to the end of April that has halted production.

"The world is still concerned about the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on economic growth, with many countries still enduring some form of lockdown," said Bianca Botes, executive director at Peregrine Treasury Solutions.

South Africa entered a recession in the final quarter of last year as power cuts by state utility Eskom took a toll on the economy.

Government bonds were weaker, with the yield on the 10-year instrument due in 2030 rising 14 basis points to 10.950pc.