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Africa, Forex

South Africa’s rand weakens, markets down as virus worries persist

(Updates prices)

JOHANNESBURG, June 26 – South Africa’s rand slipped against the U.S. dollar on Friday as concerns about a surge in coronavirus cases globally continued to weigh on hopes of a swift economic recovery.

At 1500 GMT, the rand traded at 17.3300 per dollar, 1.11% weaker than its previous close.

Coronavirus cases have been rising across the United States, while over 9.51 million people have been infected globally, according to a Reuters tally.

“Sentiment has been impacted by the surge in Covid-19 infections in certain U.S. states. This has raised concern over a rapid economic recovery, particularly if a renewed lockdown is implemented,” Kamilla Kaplan of Investec said in a note.

“These factors are likely to continue shaping sentiment in the week ahead.”

Cases in South Africa have also surged, with confirmed COVID-19 cases up by more than 6,000 from Wednesday to reach over 118,000 by late on Thursday, with more than 2,200 registered deaths.

The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) ended the week lower as the mood of the market upbeat on opening of the economy reversed due to a rise in coronavirus cases globally.

The FTSE/JSE benchmark all share index and the FTSE/JSE Top40 Companies index were both down 0.36% to end the trading week at 53,720 points and 49,556 points respectively.

The banks led the fall in the market with the banking index closing down 3.22%.

In fixed income, the yield long-dated 2030 bond was up 3 basis points to9.2%. (Reporting by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo and Promit Mukherjee, Editing by Angus MacSwan)

A street money changer counts South African Rands in Harare

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