JOHANNESBURG, March 3 (Reuters) - South Africa's rand weakened late on Wednesday, reversing some gains made earlier in the session, as data pointed to a slower recovery in factory activity.
At 1508 GMT the rand ZAR=D3 was 0.47% weaker against the dollar at 15.0100.
A survey showed that South African private sector activity expanded in February, but at a slightly slower pace than the previous month. rand rallied to a year's best of 14.3950 a week ago on fiscal consolidation plans laid out by South Africa's finance minister, but has struggled to strengthen further, with doubts remaining over how quickly the country can achieve sustainable fiscal improvement. also weighed the prospect of further loosening of monetary policy globally against signs of returning inflation.
"The market is still trying to make sense of the tidal wave of stimulus that has hit financial markets over the past year, and the longer-term impact thereof on inflation and prospective monetary policy," said economists at ETM Analytics.
"While fundamentals point to sustained USD weakness, a large contingent of investors is betting that these fundamentals are changing as the global economy reflates more rapidly than many had previously expected."
Stocks failed to hold on to another record high hit earlier in the session, snapping a two-day winning streak as weak bullion, aluminium and platinum prices took the shine out of miners and explorers exposed to those commodities. MET/L GOL/
Weak earnings results and outlook also dampened sentiment.
Standard Bank SBKJ.J slid 1.20% after Africa's largest bank by assets said it expects annual earnings to drop in the range of 40%-50%. shares in banking group Sasfin SFNJ.J also fell 1.54% after it reported a 65.8% drop in half-year headline earnings per share, the main measure of profit in the country. and construction services firm Murray & Roberts MURJ.J fell 3.01% after it incurred an attributable half-year loss of 167 million rand ($11.13 million). the Johannesburg All-Share index .JALSH closed 0.27% down at 68,326 points, reversing earlier gains as it retreated from a record high of 69,403 points. The Top 40 index .JTOPI fell 0.39% to 62,861 points, also from a record high of 63,969 points.
Bonds weakened, with the yield on the 2030 government bond ZAR2030= adding 2 basis points to 9.045%. ($1 = 15.0012 rand)
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