South Africa: Jacob Zuma speech hits rand

South Africa's president tried to play down the effect of labour unrest on the economy yesterday but managed to trigger a fall in the rand instead.

"It is only in undemocratic countries that there are no strikes," Jacob Zuma said . "I don't think we should take strikes as a problem."

The rand, which has dropped 10 per cent this month, breached the 10 level against the dollar after the speech and extended the losses after Glencore Xstrata said three of its chrome mines were hit by a wildcat strike.