The rand dropped to a new low on Wednesday as economic data globally and locally reinforced concern of a deep and prolonged slump because of the coronavirus outbreak, causing investors to dump riskier assets.

Safe-haven currencies such as the dollar rose after US orders and employment levels dropped to their lowest levels in more than a decade. Absa’s purchasing managers index improved in March, but that was not enough to prevent the worst quarter since 2009 for manufacturers. Worse news is yet to come as March only reflected three lost production day, a figure that will run to 10 in April once the effect of the national lockdown is included.

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