Rand Falls Versus Stronger Dollar, Reacting to U.S. Hawkish Comments

South African bank notes featuring an image of former South African President Nelson Mandela are displayed at an office in Johannesburg, file.

The Rand dipped in early trade on Wednesday as the dollar strengthened following hawkish comments from US Federal Reserve officials.

The rand was trading at R14.73 versus the dollar at 0605 GMT, down 0.4 percent from its previous close.

The dollar rose to its highest level in almost two years as Federal officials urged for a swift decrease in the central bank’s ballooning balance sheet, with one of them suggesting openness to half-point rate hikes.

Higher interest rates in industrialized nations tend to pull money out of higher-yielding but riskier emerging markets like South Africa.

The yield on the benchmark 2030 maturity rose 3.5 basis points to 9.615 percent, indicating that government bonds are losing ground to the currency.

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South Africa’s unemployment data were released by Statistics South Africa on Tuesday (29 March). In the fourth quarter of last year, the country’s official unemployment rate increased by 0.4 percentage points to a new high of 35.3 percent.

The extended definition of unemployment, on the other hand, is now at 46.2 percent.

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