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Rand Falls After Central Bank Plans Important Announcement

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Feb. 10 (Bloomberg) -- South Africa’s rand extended a decline after the central bank said Governor Gill Marcus will make an announcement “of national importance” with President Jacob Zuma and Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan tomorrow.

A press conference will be held at the head office of the South African Reserve Bank in Pretoria at 3 p.m. local time, the central bank said in a statement on its website, without giving further details. Spokesmen for the central bank, National Treasury and Presidency declined to comment when called today.

“The fact that they’re making the announcement on a Saturday, when the market is closed, means it is probably going to be market-moving,” Ian Cruickshanks, head of treasury strategic research at Johannesburg-based Nedbank Group Ltd., said by phone. “There is a lot of speculation swirling about,” including changes to senior positions, exchange controls or the inflation-targeting mandate.

The rand retreated as much as 2.6 percent to 7.7847 per dollar, and traded 2.3 percent weaker at 7.7589 per dollar as of 5 p.m. in Johannesburg, the worst performance out of more than 20 emerging-market currencies monitored by Bloomberg.

“The rand is definitely on the back foot as a result of this,” Michael Keenan, an analyst at Absa Group Ltd. in Johannesburg, said by phone.

The last time Zuma held a joint press conference with Marcus and Gordhan was on March 25, when Lesetja Kganyago was moved from the National Treasury to the central bank as deputy governor. Zuma last held a press conference on a weekend with the central bank in July 2009 when he named Marcus as a replacement for Tito Mboweni for a five-year term from November of that year.

The other two deputy governors are Daniel Mminele, who was appointed in June 2009 and Francois Groepe, who took up his position at the beginning of this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Robert Brand in Cape Town at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Gavin Serkin at

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