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South African rand slips after dismal mining data

(Updates throughout)

JOHANNESBURG, Jan 15 (Reuters) - The South African rand fell on Tuesday, after worse-than-expected mining data pointed to lingering weakness in Africa's most industrialised economy.

At 1640 GMT, the rand traded at 13.8000 per dollar, 0.3 percent weaker than its previous close.

Mining output - which has been volatile for much of 2018 - fell 5.6 percent year on year in November versus expectations for growth of 0.75 percent, as production of diamonds, gold and iron ore slumped.

Investors are looking for signs that South Africa's sputtering economy is on the road to recovery, after it briefly dipped into recession last year.

Mines account for a significant portion of exports.

The South African currency started 2019 on the front foot, rallying more than 4 percent against the dollar, but it remains vulnerable to global risk events like Brexit, as well as uncertainty surrounding this year's local parliamentary election.

South Africa's 2026 government bond also slipped on Tuesday, as the yield rose 1 basis point to 8.815 percent.

Stocks were barely changed, as the bullion sector countered gains elsewhere.

The Johannesburg Stock Exchange's Top-40 index ended up 0.1 percent at 47,382 points, and the All-share index rose 0.1 percent to 53,533 points.

Among the biggest fallers, Sibanye-Stillwater dropped 4.9 percent to 9.90 rand, Gold Fields was 1.9 percent lower at 49.49 rand and AngloGold Ashanti fell 2 percent to 173.42 rand.

Ryan Woods, a trader at Independent Securities, linked declines in those stock prices to recent strikes as well as rand strength. A stronger local currency hurts South African miners by driving costs higher while they earn in dollars for their output. (Reporting by Alexander Winning and Tanisha Heiberg, Editing by William Maclean)

2019-01-15 18:55:14

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