The rand showed signs of strengthening to below R18 to the dollar Wednesday while the JSE gained the most in almost two months as strong data from China pointed to a growing rebound after the lifting of country’s stringent Covid-19 regulations.

Factory activity in the world’s second-biggest economy far exceeded expectations, with the country’s official manufacturing purchasing managers index rising to 52.6 points in February, well above above Bloomberg’s market consensus of 50.6. That’s also the fastest growth in almost a decade and the highest since April 2012, when it reached 53.5...

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