By 5pm yesterday, the rand was bid at R11.1325 to the dollar, a quarter of a cent weaker than at the same time on Tuesday. "The rand is still stuck in this long-term bull trend, which will only be negated by a move back through R9.5475 - in other words, a long way off from current levels," Standard Bank trader Warrick Butler said yesterday. The level of R9.5475 was last September's cycle low. Government bonds rose for a third day, driving yields to the lowest levels in more than a week, as expectations of further rate hikes eased. The yield on the benchmark bond due in December 2026 dropped 11 basis points, or 0.11 percentage point, to 8.69 percent by 2.23pm . Forward rate agreements starting in 12 months dropped 12 basis points to 7.67 percent, or 2 percentage points more than the three-month Johannesburg interbank agreed rate. As recently as January 31 , the contracts were pricing in rate increases of 240 basis points over the next year. Foreign investors bought a net R1.9 billion of South African bonds after selling R9.2bn in the previous four days, according to JSE data. The Mercury
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