The rand weakened on Thursday ahead of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s annual address to parliament later in the day.
At 1529 GMT, the rand traded at R18.97 against a broadly stronger dollar.
The dollar was last up 0.26% against a basket of global currencies.
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Investors will be looking ahead to Ramaphosa’s “State of the Nation Address“ around 1700 GMT for any solutions he might propose to the nation’s power shortages and logistics crisis.
However, some analysts tempered expectations of any major announcements and predicted a muted market reaction.
The address “will likely be short on details on how the government plans to address and solve the myriad of crises facing the economy,” said ETM Analytics in a note.
Data from South Africa’s statistics agency earlier showed manufacturing output rose 0.7% year-on-year in December, after rising by a revised 2.5% in November.
Shares on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange fell, with the blue-chip Top 40 index ending 0.85% lower.
South Africa’s benchmark 2030 government bond slipped, with the yield up 3 basis points at 9.915%.