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Rand Heads for Best Month in Two Years as Exporter Demand Climbs

The rand headed for its best month in two years as exporters repatriated foreign currency and stronger-than-forecast data on China’s manufacturing boosted prices of metals.

South Africa’s currency gained as much as 0.2 percent and traded less than 0.1 percent stronger at 8.4747 per dollar by 9:07 a.m. in Johannesburg. Yields on government 10.5 percent bonds due in December 2026 were untraded at 7.28 percent after rising five basis points last week.

The nation’s markets will be closed tomorrow for the New Year’s holiday. Equities trading will end at 12 noon local time today. China’s manufacturing expanded at the fastest pace since May 2011 in December, beating a preliminary estimate, according to a survey released today by HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics.

“There is very little activity across the board today, although we are seeing a few exporters in the market as we go into the close of the year,” William van Rijn, a currency trader at Nedbank Group Ltd. in Johannesburg, said by phone.

Gold, platinum and copper advanced after the Chinese data. Commodities, including metals, account for about 45 percent of South Africa’s exports, according to government data.

The rand has strengthened 5.1 percent since Dec. 1, its best month since December 2010, paring its loss this year to 4.6 percent.

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