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South African Rand Extends Losses Before Powell speech

The South African rand extended losses in early trade on Friday, ahead of a speech by the U.S. Federal Reserve Chair, which could set the tone for future interest rate hikes in the world’s biggest economy.

At 0605 GMT, the rand traded at 18.8700 against the dollar , about 0.3% weaker than its previous close. The rand has had a turbulent week, contributing to its over 5% losses month-to-date.

The dollar last traded around 0.1% stronger against a basket of global currencies.

On Friday, Jerome Powell will give a speech at the Jackson Hole Symposium for global central bankers. The market is bracing for a hawkish tone from Powell, which could point to further U.S. rate hikes.

The risk-sensitive rand often takes cues from global factors like U.S. monetary policy in the absence of domestic economic data cues.

The South African government will hold its weekly auction of inflation-linked bonds later in the day.

South Africa’s benchmark 2030 government bond was weaker in early deals, with the yield up 4.5 basis points at 10.245%.