Johannesburg - South Africa's rand is likely to remain on the back foot this week, weighed down by fears about the health of the country's mining sector, as the market awaits the central bank's decision on interest rates.
The rand was at R8.8825/$ at 09:03. 0.1% weaker than Friday's New York close.
The currency hit a 7-week low against the dollar on Friday and government bonds fell on signs that South Africa's mining industry was still struggling to recover from violent wildcat strikes in 2012 that led to the death of more than 50 miners.
Harmony Gold Mining, South Africa's third largest gold producer, said on Friday its Kusasalethu mine would remain shut until an agreement with trade unions was reached.
Platinum producer Anglo Platinum [JSE:AMS] said it planned to sell one South African mine, mothball another two and cut 14 000 jobs.
The next few days will likely see a continuation of last week's negative sentiment, said Brigid Taylor, head of institutional sales at Nedbank, which is targeting R8.90 on the rand this week.
"It seems evident that by and large, investors are cautious (about) South African assets and remaining on the sidelines, which has an upside risk for the rand," she said.
The South African Reserve Bank's monetary policy committee will announce its decision on interest rates on Thursday, with market participants expecting the benchmark repo rate to be held at 5%.
Government bonds were barely changed on Monday, with the yield on the 2015 issue flat at 5.35% and that on the 2026 issue 0.5 basis points higher at 7.24%.
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