South African rand firms as dollar slips on US jobs data

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) -The South African rand strengthened on Tuesday after the dollar slipped on a new report that showed U.S. job openings held steady at higher levels.

At 1533 GMT, the rand traded at 18.8125 against the dollar, about 0.7% firmer than its previous closing level.

The dollar index was down 0.2% after the U.S. Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics said job openings, a measure of labour demand, edged up 8,000 to 8.756 million on the last day of February.

The rand seemed unperturbed by disappointing data at home after a purchasing managers’ index (PMI) survey showed monthly South African manufacturing activity declined and vehicle sales fell 11.7% year-on-year in March.

The rand like most emerging market currencies, takes cues from global factors like the direction of the dollar, in addition to local economic indicators.

Shares on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange fell, with the blue-chip Top-40 index closing 0.1% lower.

South Africa’s benchmark 2030 government bond was weaker, with the yield up 1.5 basis points to 10.630%.

(Reporting by Alexander Winning and Bhargav Acharya; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Aurora Ellis)


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