Rand slightly firmer but still vulnerable

Johannesburg - The rand edged up against the dollar in early trade on Friday, with traders and analysts expecting the currency to get its steer mainly from US employment data due out later in the session.

Government bonds opened slightly weaker but the stock market got off to a firm start, with the Top 40 index adding 0.8% to 45 610 while the broader All-share rose by the same margin to 50 911.

By 09:05 the rand was trading at R13.8700/$, up 0.37% from Thursday's New York close. It had inched up to R13.9 by 09:46.

Traders however said the rand remained vulnerable to bearish sentiment after failing to hold on to earlier gains in the previous section.

Emerging markets in general could also come under pressure if jobs numbers out of the United States surpass expectations, building the case for an interest rate hike this year in the world's biggest economy.

"The rally in the rand over the last two days may be at an end," Standard Bank trader Oliver Alwar said. "The technical picture suggests that more rand weakness is on the cards."

In fixed income, the yield on debt maturing in 2026 ticked up 1 basis point to 8.425%.

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