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Africa, Forex

South African rand firms against dollar ahead of U.S. jobs data

(Updates prices)

JOHANNESBURG, Aug 4 (Reuters) – South Africa’s rand firmed on Thursday as the U.S. dollar edged down on fading support from the Federal Reserve’s hawkish messaging ahead of highly anticipated jobs data on Friday.

At 1523 GMT the rand traded at 16.6750 against the dollar, up 0.39% from its previous close.

On Tuesday, the rand fell sharply in risk-off trade linked to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan. But it recovered some ground on Wednesday.

Some traders use the rand as a proxy for emerging market risk, so it is highly susceptible to swings in global investor sentiment.

The Bank of England raised rates as expected on Thursday by a 50 basis points, joining the Federal Reserve and other central banks in an accelerated race to catch soaring inflation.

Fed officials have continued to fight against the perception that U.S. interest rates were close to peaking, but the impact of Fed’s rhetoric on the dollar appear to be fading.

The dollar index, which tracks the currency against six major rivals, was last down 0.55% at 105.89.

Investors will get a key snapshot of how the U.S. economy is faring on Friday, when the Labor Department reports employment data for July.

Stocks on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange rose marginally in the absence of major domestic catalysts, with the benchmark all-share index closing 0.16% higher at 68,717 points, while the blue-chip index of top 40 companies ending 0.21% higher at 62,327 points.

The South African government’s benchmark 2030 bond was stronger, with the yield falling 16.5 basis points to 10.185%. (Reporting by Alexander Winning and Bhargav Acharya in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber and Mike Harrison)

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