Rand depreciates after manufacturing, mining data falls

South Africa's factory output rose 2.2% after gaining a revised 7.1% in April, Pretoria-based Statistics South Africa said on its website today. The median estimate of 13 economists surveyed by Bloomberg was for growth of 2.9%.

Mining output in Africa’s biggest gold producer fell 0.7% in May from a year earlier, the agency said in a separate report. The domestic data offset gains made by emerging-market currencies against the dollar, which were spurred by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanake’s comments yesterday that the US economy will continue to need stimulus.

The rand weakened 0.2% to 9.9981 per dollar by 5.39pm in Johannesburg on Thursday, the third-worst performer on the day among 24 emerging-market currencies tracked by Bloomberg. It rose as much as 1.2% earlier in the day.

Yields on benchmark 10.5% bonds due December 2026 dropped eight basis points, or 0.08 percentage point, to 7.97%. Bernanke’s comments sparked the biggest rally in 10 months emerging-market stocks.

Commodities climbed for an eighth day and South African stocks had the biggest one-day increase since January 3.

Federal Open Market Committee minutes released earlier showed that some policy makers wanted to see more signs that employment is picking up before they agree to slow bond purchases.– Bloomberg

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