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South Africa's rand recovers on improved risk appetite

South Africa's rand firmed against the dollar on Wednesday, as risk appetite continued to improve on expectations the impact of the Omicron variant on the global economy will be limited based on early data.

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At 1531 GMT, the rand traded at 15.8500 against the dollar, 0.06% stronger than its previous close.

"The holiday season is upon us, but the currency markets are somewhat subdued at the moment, with daily trading volumes likely to decrease," said Andre Cilliers, currency strategist at TreasuryONE.

"The only real, impactful news remains the rapidly spreading Covid-19 virus and the increasing number of restrictive measures being put in place in certain countries."

Omicron and the near-term economic outlook


Since the outbreak of the Omicron variant in late-November, investors heading into holidays have been trying to avoid risk, with knee-jerk reactions being the order of the day every time there is some development on the virus.

Questions about Omicron's virulence are at the heart of scientific and political debate in many countries, as governments grapple with how to respond to the spread of the variant while researchers race to understand it.

On Wednesday a South African study suggested reduced risks of hospitalisation and severe disease in people infected with the Omicron coronavirus variant versus Delta, though the authors say some of that is likely due to high population immunity.

Still enjoying Tuesday's rally as risk appetite improved, the Johannesburg All-Share index closed 0.34% firmer, while the Top-40 index rose 0.3%.

In fixed income, the yield on the benchmark 2030 government bond was up 6 basis points to 9.385%.


SOURCE

Reuters
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