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New South African bank notes featuring an image of former South African President Nelson Mandela are displayed at an office in Johannesburg

South African rand weaker before retail sales data

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa's rand was slightly weaker early on Wednesday as investors awaited retail sales data for clues about the health of the economy.

At 0610 GMT, the rand traded at 12.5900 versus the dollar, down around 0.15 percent from its close on Tuesday.

Statistics South Africa is scheduled to publish March retail sales data, which reflects the strength of consumer confidence, at around 1100 GMT.

Economists polled by Reuters expect retail sales growth to slow to 4.4 percent from 4.9 percent in February.

The rand slumped by almost 2 percent on Tuesday, hurt by a strong dollar fuelled by rising U.S. bond yields.

The South African currency has been pulled this way and that in recent weeks, taking its cue from global market moves. It is down around 1 percent against the U.S. currency since the end of last month.

Government bonds were also weaker in early deals, with the yield on the benchmark instrument due in 2026 up 1.5 basis points to 8.505 percent.

(Reporting by Alexander Winning, editing by Louise Heavens)

2018-05-16 09:11:36

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