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JOHANNESBURG: South African government bonds weakened on Thursday due to heightened risk aversion emanating from the euro zone, although movements were exaggerated by thin trading volumes ahead of the Easter market holiday.

The rand was at 7.827 against the dollar at 1540 GMT, little changed from Wednesday's New York close of 7.832.   

Earlier in the session the currency had been under pressure due to concerns about sovereign debt risk in the euro zone after a poor Spanish debt auction, and a dip in long-term economic confidence suggested by the Reuters Econometer survey.

"Eurozone fears hurts rand and the dip in Reuters Econometer to 262.31," IFR, a Thomson Reuters market analysis service, said.

The Reuters Econometer, a confidence index that measures economists' views two years ahead, fell to 262.31 from 266.84 in the February poll, driven by concerns about growth in Europe, South Africa's largest trading partner.

The 2015 bond yield was up one basis point at 6.82 percent. More pressure built up on the longer-dated 2026 paper , with its yield jumping four basis points to 8.55 percent.

South Africa's weekly bond auction on Tuesday had a poor showing for longer-dated paper, with the short-dated paper attracting the highest bid-to-cover ratio at 2.62.

With most dealers back at their desks on Tuesday after the Easter holidays, the planned Treasury auction should paint a more accurate picture of demand for bonds in Africa's biggest economy.

"The reality is that we will be back on Tuesday facing another auction and this may put some pressure on the yield curve," Rand Merchant Bank said in a note.

Copyright Reuters, 2012