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Rand drifts lower ahead of current account data

Stocks looked likely to start slightly weaker at 0700 GMT, as indicated by the Top-40 futures index, which dipped 0.37 percent.

A South African child holds a 50 rand note  in a file photo.

South Africa's rand ended a two-day run of gains against the dollar on Tuesday, drifting half a percent lower against the dollar ahead of current account data at 0800 GMT that may set the direction for the session.

At 0653 GMT the rand was trading at 15.3400 versus the dollar, down 0.54 percent from Monday's close at 15.2575.

The rand took its cue mainly from Asia, where shares took a breather after a month-long rally.

"The market is likely to remain in limbo until the South African Reserve Bank quarterly bulletin comes out this morning with the latest current account information," NKC African Economics said in a morning note.

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The current account deficit is expected to have widened slightly to 4.35 percent of GDP in the fourth quarter of 2015 from 4.1 percent in the third quarter, according to a Reuters poll.

The current account shortfall, largely financed by portfolio inflows, has long been a source of risk for the rand.

On the debt market, government bonds were a touch firmer, with the yield on the 2026 benchmark government bond easing 2 basis points to 9.28 percent.

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