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JOHANNESBURG: South Africa's rand steadied in early trade on Thursday, as markets digested President Cyril Ramaphosa's new, leaner cabinet that retained familiar faces in key positions including Tito Mboweni as finance minister.

At 0635 GMT, the rand traded at 14.6650 per dollar, not far off its New York close of 14.600 on Wednesday.

Ramaphosa announced his smaller cabinet late on Wednesday, following on from a pre-election pledge to reform and revive an ailing economy and attract foreign investors.

In addition to retaining Mboweni, Ramaphosa kept on Pravin Gordhan as public enterprises minister. The ministry oversees state-owned companies including Eskom. He also retained David Mabuza as deputy president.

"What transpired was overwhelmingly positive and if there is follow through, and that is a big if, then we can expect an improvement in the country's economic and other fortunes down the line," analysts at NKC African Economics said in a note.

"There were far more positive points than negative, and given the tightrope Mr Ramaphosa had to walk, we got the best he could give under prevailing conditions."

Data scheduled for release on Thursday include April producer price inflation and Treasury's monthly budget balance numbers.

In fixed income, the yield on the benchmark government bond due in 2026 was down 5.5 basis points to 8.43%.

Copyright Reuters, 2019