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South African rand stronger in early Omicron characters; Retail data in focus

JOHANNESBURG, Dec. 8 (Reuters) – The South African rand extended its winnings this week early Wednesday as evidence that the locally identified variant of Omicron coronavirus is causing mostly mild infections helped risk-taking.

The focus was also on the retail sales data (ZARET = ECI) for October due at 1100 GMT and the business confidence figures (ZABCI = ECI) for November due at 0930 GMT.

At 0620 GMT, the rand was trading at 15.8250 against the dollar, about 0.2% higher than its previous close.

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Financial markets were very sensitive to Omicron news that South Africa brought the world’s attention late last month, triggering global alarms and the imposition of travel restrictions.

However, anecdotal reports from South African doctors and researchers suggest that it may cause less severe clinical symptoms than other coronavirus variants, although they warn that more research is needed before definitive conclusions can be drawn. Continue reading

A proposal to amend the constitution to expressly allow the expropriation of land without compensation also supports the mood and did not receive enough votes in parliament on Tuesday. Opposition parties and some investors have viewed the proposal as a threat to property rights. Continue reading

Economists polled by Reuters predict that October retail sales will grow 1.8% year over year, slightly lower than September’s 2.1%. Retail has had a mixed year as it was one of the biggest victims of the July unrest that contributed to an economic slowdown in the third quarter.

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Reporting by Alexander Winning; Ad -tation by Stephen Coates

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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