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South Africa's rand tumbles as ANC squabbles over central bank
(Adds latest data, stocks)
JOHANNESBURG, June 6 (Reuters) - South Africa's rand
weakened to its lowest in eight months on Thursday as the ruling
African National Congress' assertion that the independence of
the central bank had not changed did little to reassure rattled
A dispute over the central bank's mandate has exposed deep
divisions in the ANC, with one group loyal to President Cyril
Ramaphosa opposing calls from a rival faction for the bank to do
more to boost employment and kick-start growth in the country's
The ANC said on Thursday that the spat, which exacerbated
damage done by data showing the economy shrank by 3.2% in the
first quarter, had undermined citizens' and investors'
At 1540 GMT, the rand was 0.7% weaker at 14.9625
per dollar, having earlier fallen to its lowest since October at
"The rand remains on the back foot as the impasse over the
(central bank) mandate continues," RMB Mpho Tsebe wrote in a
Bonds also weakened, with the yield on the benchmark 10-year
issue up 2 basis points to 8.47%.
Stocks were little changed with the broader All-Share index
edging up 0.03% to 57,091 points, while the blue chip
Top-40 index was 0.02% higher at 50,988 points.
Gold and platinum stocks were responsible for much of the
gains as bullion prices rose, continuing last week's strong run
as persistent fears about the impact of trade wars on the
economy and rising expectations for a U.S. interest rate cut
boosted the metal's appeal.
Topping gainers on the broader index was Royal Bafokeng
Platinum, which rose 6.34% to 31.05 rand, while Harmony
Gold climbed 3.12% to 28.42 rand.
Cigarette maker British American Tobacco led the
blue chip index, rising 3.51% to 554.62 rand.
"British American Tobacco has had a tough time...because of
all the possible American legislation around smoking. A weaker
rand clearly helps British American Tobacco," said Wayne
McCurrie, a portfolio manager at FNB Wealth and Investments.
(Reporting by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo and Onke Ngcuka; Editing
by Kirsten Donovan)
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