South Africa’s rand strengthens slightly ahead of U.S. growth data

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JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s rand strengthened slightly against the dollar on Friday with other emerging markets, but its gains were capped by a strong dollar ahead of U.S. growth data.

At 0655 GMT the rand was 0.42 percent stronger at 14.3800 per dollar compared with an overnight close of 14.4400.

“In tandem with emerging market currencies, the rand struggled to gain traction against a strong greenback as the trade-weighted US dollar continued to benefit from positive data releases,” said NKC African Economics in a morning note.

The currency market’s focus is now on the U.S. GDP data, which could reinforce bullishness about the world’s top economy after a slew of numbers this week pointed at an improved outlook. [nL3N2281G0]

NKC African Economics said it expects the rand to trade between 14.25 and 14.50 rand to the dollar.

South African-focused investors will look to any election news ahead of parliamentary and provincial polls on May 8.

In fixed income, bonds also weakened the yield on the benchmark 10-year issue was up 1 basis points to 8.600 percent.

Reporting by Tanisha Heiberg; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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