Johannesburg – The rand edged slightly firmer against the dollar on Monday after a shortened trade week for Christmas holidays, and looked set to remain in a narrow range with no major domestic data releases until Tuesday.
At 09:00 the local unit had gained 0.04% to R11.5950 versus the greenback, little changed from a close of R11.6000 in New York.
The local unit traded close to its weakest level in six years last week after the US economy recorded its quickest expansion in five years, with investors already fretting over South Africa’s weak economic fundamentals opting to buy the dollar.
Yields on local bonds were flat in early trade, with the benchmark paper due in 2026 unmoved at 8.05%.
The South African Revenue Service releases November trade figures on Tuesday, with a Reuters poll of economists expecting the deficit to narrow to R7bn after yawning to over R21bn in the previous month.
Falling exports and productivity disrupted by labour stoppages and erratic power supply have dragged the rand almost 25% lower against the dollar in 2014.
Signs of a continued recovery in the US economy and a cooling-off of the Chinese economy is expected to weigh on sentiment toward riskier developing market assets like South Africa heading into 2015.
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