Johannesburg - The rand fell as much as 0.8% against the dollar early on Wednesday, reaching its weakest level in more than three weeks as a gloomy domestic economic outlook weighs.
The local bourse also got off to a weak start, with the Top 40 index shedding 0.88% while the broader All-share index was down 0.78%.
The rand slid to a session low of R15.7600 per dollar, its softest since tumbling to a record-breaking 16.0485 on December 11 after President Jacob Zuma unexpectedly fired finance minister Nhlanhla Nene.
By 07:06 GMT the unit was at 15.7450, down 0.72% from Tuesday's close.
Zuma's move last month rattled investors already worried about sluggish growth in Africa's second-largest and most industrialised economy.
"Amid relatively thin trading conditions, rand looks set to test resistance around the psychological 16.0000/dollar level soon," NKC African Economics said in a research note, predicting a 15.6500-15.8500 range for Wednesday.
Government bonds were flat in early trade, and the yield on South Africa's benchmark 2026 issue was unchanged from Tuesday's 9.645% close.
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