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S. Africa Bonds Gain as Rand Fluctuates Before Producer Prices

South African bonds advanced before data showing producer-price inflation probably eased in August for the first time in three months. The rand fluctuated between gains and losses against the dollar.

The rate of producer inflation in Africa’s largest economy slowed to 6.5 percent from 6.6 percent in July, a report by the country’s statistical agency will show tomorrow, according to the median estimate of seven economists surveyed by Bloomberg. U.S. demand for goods meant to last at least three years rose 0.1 percent last month after plunging 8.1 percent in July, according to the Commerce Department.

The rand “has basically traded in a 9.82 to 9.88 range since Monday morning in very lackluster trade” as “we await local PPI numbers,” Mohammed Nalla, head of strategic research at Nedbank Group Ltd. in Johannesburg, said in an e-mailed note to clients today.

The currency weakened less than 0.1 percent to 9.8780 per dollar by 3:31 p.m. in Johannesburg. It earlier strengthened as much as 0.5 percent. The rand has gained 4.1 percent this month, paring its loss this year to 14 percent, the worst performer among 16 major currencies tracked by Bloomberg.

Yields on rand-denominated government bonds due December 2026 fell five basis points, or 0.05 percentage point, to 7.86 percent, the lowest in more than two months on a closing basis.

Losing Faith

New-home sales in the U.S. rose to 420,000 units in August from 394,000 a month earlier, a report will show at 4 p.m. Johannesburg time, according to 77 economists. Still, a Bloomberg National Poll showed Americans are losing faith in the nation’s economic recovery. Initial jobless claims increased to 325,000 in the week to Sept. 21 from 309,000 in the prior period, data tomorrow may show, according to 45 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said the bank wants to see more signs of a U.S. economy recovery before beginning to taper the $85 billion a month monetary stimulus that’s sparked demand by investors for emerging-market assets.

South Africa has the world’s largest-known reserves of platinum, used in the automotive-manufacturing industry, and chrome and is the sixth-largest gold miner. The spot price of gold retreated 0.1 percent to $1,321.82 per ounce while platinum fell 0.1 percent to $1,426.24 per ounce.

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