JOHANNESBURG, May 6 (Reuters) - South Africa's rand weakened against the dollar in afternoon trade on Wednesday, with market sentiment bruised by indicators painting a bleak outlook for the economy both at home and globally amid the coronavirus crisis.
At 1530 GMT the rand ZAR=D3 was 1.21% weaker at 18.7520 per dollar, giving up gains from earlier in the session. Investors globally dumped riskier assets in the wake of dire economic numbers after shutdowns to stem the spread of the virus.
In South Africa, private sector activity fell to a record low in April, a business survey showed on Wednesday, as temporary company closures led to a collapse in demand. most developed economy is now in its sixth week of a strict lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of the new coronavirus, which has infected more than 7,000 and killed 148.
Manufacturing data in the euro zone and the UK also painted a bleak picture and sent investors piling into safe-haven currencies such as yen and dollar. FRX
Greg Davies, trader at Cratos Capital, said the all share index .JALSH was pulled upwards by stocks that tend to benefit from a weaker rand, like miners that export their product, or firms with an overseas presence and therefore a rand hedge in place.
British American Tobacco (JO: SNHJ ) BTIJ.J rose 1.90% to 695.73 rand, BHP Group BHPJ.J climbed 4% to 311.77 rand, paper and packaging firm Mondi (LON: MNDI ) MNPJ.J was up 2.50% to 313.44 rand, while mining firms .JMINI climbed 2.84%.
But miner Harmony Gold HARJ.J closed 9.03% lower after it said it planned to raise up to $200 million via a share issue to fund part of its purchase of AngloGold Ashanti's ANGJ.J last remaining assets in South Africa. also said it had withdrawn its annual production guidance for the financial year as it does not have clarity on the ramp-up of production from its mines after the lockdown.
In fixed income, the yield on government paper due in 2030 ZAR2030= rose 2.5 basis points to 9.78%.
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