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Nudged firmer

24 November 2004 Angelo Coppola

The rand nudged firmer yesterday, supported by dollar weakness and comments by the Reserve Bank governor Tito Mboweni against intervention but lacked the momentum to break out of its recent range.

Mboweni told a conference in Port Elizabeth that pressure on the dollar was likely to mean the exchange rate of the rand will remain firm in the future, but said the Bank would not intervene to stem its gains as it builds forex reserves.

The rand firmed to an intraday best level of R5,9435 a dollar, near a recent four-month high, driven by the dollar's fall to record troughs against the euro - the currency of SA's main trading partner.

At midafternoon, the rand was trading at R5,95 a dollar compared with R5,9650 at the close on Tuesday.

The dollar dropped to fresh all-time lows against the euro yesterday in a pre-holiday thinned session as a mixed batch of US economic data did little to ease heavy selling pressure.

The US currency also fell to nine-year lows against the Swiss franc and four and a half year troughs against the yen.

Around mid-afternoon, the euro was up at $1,3177, just below the record high of $1,3178, reached earlier in the session. Against the Swiss franc, the dollar slumped more than 1% to Sf1,1461, near nine-year lows at Sf1,1450 hit earlier.

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