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JOHANNESBURG: South Africa's rand steadied in early trade on Wednesday, as optimism surrounding trade talks between Washington and Beijing boosted market sentiment.

* At 0615 GMT, the rand traded at 14.2425 per dollar, not far from its New York close of 14.2550 on Tuesday.

* "The rand has remained surprisingly steady, trading in a fairly tight range," said Bianca Botes, Corporate Treasury Manager at Peregrine Treasury Solutions.

* "Some relief coming from the continuing trade talks is likely to provide the local unit with some breathing room, at least in the short term," she added.

* On Tuesday, U.S. President Donald Trump downplayed the recent escalation of the trade war as "a little squabble" and said talks between the two countries had not collapsed.

* South African-focused investors will look to March retail sales data due at 1100 GMT for clues on the health of the domestic economy.

* In fixed income, the yield on the benchmark government bond due in 2026 fell by 1 basis point to 8.48% in early trade.

Copyright Reuters, 2019