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South African Rand Gains Against Dollar as Gold, Platinum Rally

Jan. 3 (Bloomberg) -- South Africa’s rand gained the most against the dollar among emerging-market peers, pulling back from a five-year low on stronger prices for platinum and gold, among the country’s main metal exports. Bonds gained.

The spot price of gold rose for a second day to its highest level in more than two weeks on a closing basis as inflation fears stoked U.S. 10-year Treasury yields to near 3 percent. Platinum, used to make jewelry and catalytic converters in cars, gained. South Africa is the world’s sixth largest producer of bullion and has the world’s biggest platinum mine.

“The stronger gold price boosted the rand a bit today,” Ion de Vleeschauwer, chief currency dealer at Bidvest Bank Ltd., said by phone from Johannesburg. “The price is up significantly and mining companies are selling their stock to profit on the weaker currency.”

The rand strengthened 0.9 percent to 10.5858 per dollar by 2:27 p.m. in Johannesburg, paring a 1.9 percent depreciation yesterday that pushed it to the lowest since November 2008. The yield on benchmark government bonds due December 2026 fell five basis points, or 0.05 percentage point, to 8.27 percent.

Emerging-market assets, including currencies, were sold off yesterday as investors’ risk appetite declined amid rising interest rates in the U.S. Gold, traditionally a safe-haven against inflation, rose 0.5 percent to $1,230.49 per ounce while platinum gained 0.2 percent to $1,406.75 per ounce.

The rand is leading gains among major emerging-market currencies tracked by Bloomberg today after being the biggest decliner yesterday.

“We had a bit of risk off in U.S. markets,” John Cairns, a currency strategist at FirstRand Ltd.’s Rand Merchant Bank, said by phone from Johannesburg. “The rand is just following general emerging-market and high-yield trends. At this stage the biggest issue for the rand is the continued upward push in U.S. Treasury yields.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Jaco Visser in Johannesburg at avisser3@bloomberg.net

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

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