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Rand Advances on Exporter Demand Ahead of Christmas Holidays

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Dec. 24 (Bloomberg) -- The rand advanced, headed for its best month since June, as exporters repatriated foreign-currency earnings in thin trading before the two-day Christmas holiday.

South Africa’s currency gained as much as 0.5 percent and traded 0.1 percent stronger at 8.5843 per dollar by 1:15 p.m. in Johannesburg. Yields on government 10.5 percent bonds due December 2026 were little changed at 7.23 percent after falling 11 basis points last week.

South Africa’s markets close on Dec. 25 and 26 for the Christmas and Day of Goodwill holidays. South Africa’s equities market closed at 12 noon local time today. Moves are exaggerated in thin trading conditions, Warrick Butler, head of rand trading at Johannesburg- based Standard Bank Group Ltd., said by telephone.

“Liquidity is well below par today,” Butler said. “We saw a couple of exporters in the market this morning. The market is being driven purely by demand and supply.”

The rand has added 3.8 percent this month, the best performance among major currencies tracked by Bloomberg, and paring its loss for the year to 5.8 percent.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stephen Gunnion in Johannesburg at sgunnion@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Vernon Wessels at vwessels@bloomberg.net

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