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Rand edges higher on weak US data

At 1517 GMT the local unit traded at 12,1325 versus the greenback.

FILE: The rand, however, remains vulnerable to yawning deficits on the budget and current account. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The rand was a touch firmer against the dollar on Friday, propped up, as it has been for most of the week, by soft US economic data that makes a June rate hike by the Federal Reserve less likely.

At 1517 GMT the local unit traded at 12,1325 versus the greenback, slightly stronger than its New York close of 12,1550 on Thursday.

"The dollar/rand trajectory remains higher but recent weak US economic data has kept rallies in the pair contained," Tradition Analytics said in a market note.

"Failure to maintain upside impetus after the break of 12,20 yesterday is a case in point."

The prospect of a delayed resumption of policy tightening in the world's biggest economy has boosted investors' appetite for high-yielding but riskier emerging market assets like the South African currency.

The rand, however, remains vulnerable to yawning deficits on the budget and current account, as well as South Africa's prevailing electricity crunch, the worst since 2008.

Government bonds were also firmer on Friday, with the yield on the benchmark debt due in 2026 closing 4,5 basis points lower at 8,04 percent.

South African financial markets will be closed on Monday for the Freedom Day holiday.