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Africa, Forex

South African rand steady as dollar edges higher, stocks slip

(Updates rand, bonds; adds stocks)

JOHANNESBURG, Jan 13 (Reuters) – The South African rand steadied in late trade on Wednesday, after a recovery rally in the previous session, and as the dollar rebounded and U.S. yields held near recent highs.

At 1515 GMT, the rand traded at 15.2125 versus the U.S. currency, not far off its previous close of 15.2200.

With no major local data releases left this week, the rand is expected to take its cue from global drivers.

Despite gains of around 2% on Tuesday, the rand is down more than 3% against the greenback this year as a new peak in coronavirus infections and bleak economic outlook has depressed sentiment.

Shares on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) were volatile as the main indices reversed early gains and the expected boost to economic activity from the vaccine was offset by the local surge in coronavirus cases.

The benchmark FTSE/JSE all-share index ended down 0.1% to 63,475 points. The FTSE/JSE top 40 companies index was down 0.27% to 58,338 points.

Both the indices are hovering around their all-time high peaks despite a two consecutive days of falls.

The drop in indices was led by the country’s banks, often seen as a bellwether of future economic activity, with the bank index down 1,65%.

Government bonds edged higher, as the yield on the benchmark 2030 instrument dropped 2 basis points to 8.780%. (Reporting by Alexander Winning, Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo and Promit Mukherjee; editing by Barbara Lewis)

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