South African rand falls due to new COVID-19 variant

JOHANNESBURG, Nov. 26 (Reuters) – The South African rand fell Friday, breaking the 16.00 level for the dollar for the first time this year, as investors became cautious following the discovery of a new coronavirus strain in the country.

At 0635 GMT, the rand was trading at 16,2300 against the dollar, 1.58% weaker than its previous close.

Government bonds also weakened, with the benchmark yield to maturity for 2030 rising 13.5 basis points to 9.86%.

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South African scientists said Thursday they had discovered a new COVID-19 variant with a “very unusual constellation” of mutations, which were worrisome because they could help evade the body’s immune response and make it more transmissible. read more

The news saw some countries, including Britain, restrict travel to South Africa and its neighbors. read more

South Africa has requested an urgent meeting of a World Health Organization (WHO) working group on virus evolution on Friday to discuss the new variant.

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Reporting by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo; Editing by Shailesh Kuber

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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