South African rand falls as third-quarter GDP contracts

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) -The South African rand fell on Tuesday as third-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) contracted slightly more than expected and the U.S. dollar rose on global markets.

At 1615 GMT, the rand traded at 18.9950 against the dollar, around 1% weaker than its previous close.

The dollar last traded around 0.2% stronger against a basket of global currencies.

Q3 GDP contracted 0.2% quarter-on-quarter in seasonally adjusted terms and 0.7% year-on-year, versus expectations for a quarter-on-quarter decline of 0.1% and 0.2% annually.

The latest figures mean Africa’s most industrialised economy grew just 0.3% in the first nine months of the year, further evidence that its economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic has been among the worst in emerging markets.

A PMI survey on Tuesday also showed South African private sector business activity flatlined in November, with a cooling of price pressures counteracted by supply chain disruptions due to a port crisis.

On the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, the blue-chip Top-40 index ended down 1.1%. South Africa’s benchmark 2030 government bond weakened, with the yield up 5 basis points to 10.01%.

(Reporting by Tannur Anders and Alexander Winning; editing by Christina Fincher)