JOHANNESBURG: South Africa's rand steadied against the dollar on Tuesday with the market wary of taking on risky assets due to fears of possible sovereign ratings downgrades in the euro zone.
The rand fell sharply in the previous session as investors were disappointed by a lack of concrete action from euro zone leaders to end the debt crisis after a summit last week.
Rating agencies warned the summit, viewed by some as a last chance to save the euro, did not go far enough in easing immediate concerns about the region's debt markets.
Domestically, the debt market was weaker in line with the currency ahead of a weekly auction - the last for the year. Results will be out after 0900 GMT.
Domestic stocks looked set for a negative opening as global markets were in the red. The JSE's Top-40 December futures contract was slightly down before the start of trade at 0700 GMT.
The rand was trading at 8.28 against the dollar at 0644 GMT, not far from Monday's New York close of 8.27.
"Technically, levels towards or just above 8.30 become important. A break above might see another leg higher to 8.460," said Tradition Analytics in a note.
"Failure to break higher might entice some export dollars back into the market."
Despite recovering from a 2-1/2 year low of 8.61 seen in November, the rand has maintained a weaker tone, trying and failing several times in early December to break firmer than 8.00 to the dollar.
On fixed income, the yield on the 2015 government bond was up 5.5 basis points to 6.91 percent and that on the 2026 note climbed six basis points to 8.645 percent.
On the data front, the Bureau of Economic Research will release inflation expectations later in the session while Statistics South Africa will release formal employment numbers.
Bonds may see further selling should the inflation expectations survey show a broad-based rise, Tradition said.
Wednesday's data is expected to show annual CPI inflation breached the central bank's 3-6 percent target in November and rose to 6.2 percent. The Reserve Bank sees inflation to staying outside the target band for most of next year.
The weaker rand - which has lost 24.5 percent against the dollar this year - is also an upside risk to inflation, the central bank has said.