Economic news

South African Rand Gains as Gold hits 8-Month High

JOHANNESBURG, Feb 15 (Reuters) - The South African rand gained early on Tuesday, as gold prices climbed to an eight-month high on safe-haven demand amid heightened tensions between Russia and the West over Ukraine.

At 0610 GMT, the rand traded at 15.0900 against the dollar, around 0.3% stronger than its previous close.

Gold, a key South African export, hit its highest since mid-June and was last trading up 0.4% as investors contemplated the implications of a possible Russian attack on Ukraine.

Also supporting the rand, the dollar dipped 0.2% against a basket of currencies.

The rand has been relatively resilient recently in the face of hawkish signals from the U.S. Federal Reserve, but analysts have cautioned that could change if Russia invades Ukraine and market sentiment badly sours.

In the rand's favour are South Africa's strong terms of trade linked to high commodity prices, relatively high real yields and fresh reform pledges by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Domestic economic data releases that could alter the picture this week include January consumer inflation figures and December retail sales on Wednesday.

Ramaphosa is set to hold a media briefing at 0900 GMT on Tuesday where he will take questions on last week's State of the Nation Address.

The government's benchmark 2030 bond was little changed in early deals, with the yield dipping 0.5 basis points to 9.215%.

Reporting by Alexander Winning; Editing by Shailesh Kuber

Source: Reuters

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