The rand was sharply weaker on Friday afternoon, tracking a weaker euro, which came under pressure from a downbeat assessment of the health of the eurozone economy. A eurozone purchasing managers index dipped sharply in March, with German activity dropping to a six-and-a-half year low. A French gauge also came in below market expectations. The euro sharply weakened, dragging the rand down with it. The rand often tracks the euro, given the importance of Europe as a trading partner. A weaker euro also often implies a stronger greenback, which puts pressure on commodity prices, which are dollar-denominated. At 1.30pm the rand was 1.18% weaker at R14.3813/$, 0.57% softer at R16.2573/€ and down 1.47% to R18.9113/£. The euro was 0.61% weaker at $1.1304. The rand fared worst against the pound, which has been lifted by confirmation that the EU will give UK Prime Minister Theresa May a short Brexit extension. Local focus is now expected to shift to a review of SA’s credit status by agency Mo...

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