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South Africa’s rand flat as coronavirus infections climb

South Africa’s rand was unchanged early on Friday as investors reassessed the impact of coronavirus, with infections locally and worldwide continuing to climb.

At 0715 GMT the rand had not moved against the dollar, still trading at its overnight closing level of 16.7400 per dollar.

The rand rallied most of last week and early this week, reaching one-month highs. But momentum has since stalled as coronavirus infections rose around the world, especially in the United States, and local cases breached 200,000.

Risk demand was also weakened by data showing China consumer demand slackened and by renewed tensions between Washington and Beijing.

President Donald Trump’s administration is reported to be considering banning travel to the United States by all members of the Chinese Communist Party.

“The South African currency surrendered gains as risk appetite ebbed in the wake of poor data out of China, dwarfing optimism surrounding promising vaccine trial results,” said analysts at NKC African Economics.

Bonds were weaker, with the yield on the 2030 government issue up 7 basis points to 9.42%.

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