South Africa’s rand falls 2% after Zuma dismisses finance minister

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South Africa’s rand was softening further against the dollar on Friday in late Asian trade after President Jacob Zuma dismissed finance minister Pravin Gordhan.

The rand was down 2 per cent at 13.5466 per dollar, taking it 3.9 per cent weaker over the last two sessions. It is now down 8.9 per cent during the week to date.

The fall comes after Mr Zuma fired Mr Gordhan alongside eight other ministers as part of a late-night cabinet reshuffle on Thursday meant to purge growing numbers of the president’s critics.

The central bank kept its benchmark interest rate at 7 per cent on Thursday, marking a full year at that level as it has battled to lower the country’s inflation rate. The bank’s governor on Thursday also warned that Mr Zuma’s battles with his finance minister threatened to undermine that fight against inflation.

The rand plunged earlier this week after the president recalled Mr Gordhan from an investor trip to the UK, prompting fears of an imminent sacking.

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