South African rand firms as mining output rises

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) -South Africa’s rand strengthened on Thursday after monthly mining figures showed an increase in production.

At 1619 GMT, the rand traded at 18.9475 against the dollar, 0.6% stronger than its previous close.

The country’s total mining output rose 6.8% year on year in November after a revised increase of 3.6% the previous month, Statistics South Africa data showed.

Analysts polled by Reuters had predicted a 3% increase in November.

However, declines were recorded in the production of diamonds, manganese ore and gold, local data showed.

“Notwithstanding November’s result, which was buoyed in part by base effects, the fragile global environment continues to weigh on commodity demand,” Investec analyst Lara Hodes said in a research note.

Shares on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange closed higher, with the broader all-share index up 0.91% and blue-chip Top-40 index up 1.0%

South Africa’s benchmark 2030 government bond was firmer, with the yield down 3 basis points to 9.795%.

(Reporting by Anait Miridzhanian; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)