The rand broke below R18 to the dollar for the first time in more than five weeks on Wednesday, firming alongside its emerging-market peers as optimism about a Covid-19 vaccine lifted risk sentiment. 

The rand strengthened to a day’s best of R17.91/$, its strongest since April 9 as progress in the search for a coronavirus vaccine saw investors shift from safe havens. The local currency is still down by more than 21% so far this year. 

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