UPDATE 1-S.Africa's rand weakens against firmer dollar as COVID-19 vaccine optimism dips

  • Reuters
UPDATE 1-S.Africa's rand weakens against firmer dollar as COVID-19 vaccine optimism dips

(Updates prices, adds stocks, details)

JOHANNESBURG, Nov 11 (Reuters) - South Africa's rand retreated against a stronger dollar on Wednesday as optimism around a potential COVID-19 vaccine waned and investors awaited an address by President Cyril Ramaphosa on developments in the country's COVID-19 response.

The rand ZAR=D3 traded at 15.6875 against the U.S. dollar at 1339 GMT, 0.43% weaker than its close in the previous session despite surpassing its eight-month peak on Monday after drugmaker Pfizer (NYSE: PFE ) PFE.N announced that its trial vaccine had been highly effective in preventing COVID-19. greenback gained on Wednesday as worries over logistical challenges over the mass rollout of a potential vaccine and a surge of new infections in the United States offset optimism over the breakthrough in the coronavirus vaccine. response riskier currencies fell against the safe-haven dollar.

"There is a small pullback in the dollar today so we are seeing weakness in the rand," said Standard Bank senior trader Oliver Alwar.

The rand slipped in the previous session on local political turmoil after South African police issued an arrest warrant on corruption charges for Ace Magashule, a top official of the governing African National Congress party. will be looking to a national address by Ramaphosa at 1900 GMT on Wednesday for indications of changes in coronavirus restrictions as infection in the country surpass 740,000.

In fixed income, the yield on the benchmark due in 2030 ZAR2030= fell 3.5 basis points to 6.955%.

Stocks were weighed down by bourse heavyweight Naspers NPNJn.J and the bullion sector .JGLDX , which weakened 5.68%, as gold prices ease with a firmer dollar. All-Share index .JTOPI closed down 0.26% to 52,784 points, while the benchmark Top-40 index .JALSH dipped 0.11% to 57,607 points.

"Gold and platinum shares have taken a hit, as the gold price is looking softer, while Naspers is further dragging the market down," said Ryan Woods, a trader with Independent Securities.

Naspers fell 4.74%, while bullion producer Harmony Gold HARJ.J closed down 6.38%.

Curbing further losses the banking index .JBANK closed up 6.79% with Standard Bank SBKJ.J 7.55% firmer and Absa ABGJ.J up 5.34%.

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