The rand looked set for its third day of recovery on Thursday morning, trading at about R13.42/$ at 7am. Statistics SA is scheduled to release February’s mining production figures at 1pm, which are expected to be about 2% higher than February 2015. After Tuesday’s disappointing manufacturing data which showed a 3.6% decline for February — far worse than the expected 0.5% decline — and Wednesday’s retail sales, which showed a 1.7% decline, the hope of avoiding a recession rest on mining and agriculture. "It is entirely possible that retail sales and manufacturing activity will record a decline in output during the first quarter of 2017. This would increase the risk of SA slipping into a technical recession given the decline in the fourth quarter of 2016 GDP growth. Under these circumstances, the performance of the mining and agricultural sectors will be critical if SA is going to avoid a recession," Stanlib chief economist Kevin Lings said in a note on Wednesday. The decline in retai...

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