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Markets

South Africa's rand slightly firmer against dollar

JOHANNESBURG: The rand was firm against the dollar in early trade on Friday but looked to close within last week's range
23 Dec 2011

randJOHANNESBURG: The rand was firm against the dollar in early trade on Friday but looked to close within last week's range as thin trade and lack of market-moving data see the local currency follow the euro's moves.

Bonds are expected to continue their gradual gains in the session as reinvestment of coupon payments and an illiquid market pushes prices to a two-week high.

The local market is likely to wind down at around 1000 GMT as dealers, having already squared up their positions, are likely to take off early ahead of a long Christmas weekend.

South African markets will be closed on Monday and Tuesday for national holidays.

The rand was 0.28 percent firmer against the dollar at 8.1702 by 0637 GMT. It closed in the New York session at 8.1930.

Resistance for the currency is seen at the 8.07 to 8.10 area and through 8 rand would mark a bear trend for the dollar.

Yields on the most heavily traded benchmark government bonds have gradually fallen but were steady at 6.75 percent on the 2015 bond and 8.535 percent on the 2026 bond .

"December and January coupon flows are plus-minus 12 billion rand, if there was to be any re investment, it would pull yields lower without any supply, coupled with a slightly stronger rand and very little liquidity," said Steve Arnold, a bond trader at Investec Bank.

With a lot of investors said to have closed their books early this year, Treasury has offered a reduced number of Treasury Bills for auction this week. Results are due at 1000 GMT.

Copyright Reuters, 2011