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Rand gains after US jobs underwhelms

At 1400 GMT the rand firmed 0,94 percent to 11,9275, having climbed over a percent.

FILE: A rate hike in the US is expected to draw investment flows away from high-yield EM markets. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Rand gained over one percent against the dollar on Friday as jobs gains in the US underwhelmed, helping to boost emerging market assets.

At 1400 GMT the rand firmed 0,94 percent to 11,9275, having climbed over a percent after non-farm payrolls data showed the United States added 223,000 jobs in April, just shy of market expectations but above the crucial 200k mark.

The March jobs figure was revised downwards to 85,000 from 126,000, with the overall employment picture cooling bets of interest rate hike by the US Federal Reserve this year.

A rate hike in the US is expected to draw investment flows away from high-yield EM markets, as well see the rand depreciate.

"The big thing for the rand is that wage growth dynamics (in the US) remain weak, and also the March number was downwardly revised," said Ricardo da Camara of ETM Analytics, referring to the meek hourly wage growth of three cents shown in the US data. "We're now below 11.95 on the pair, and technically that opens the door for more rand gains," da Camara added.

Signs of an economic slowdown in China, the world's no two economy and major export destination for South Africa, compounded a dip in confidence over global growth, allowing a recent bonds sell-off to persist.

China's exports unexpectedly fell 6,4 percent in April from a year earlier, while imports tumbled by a deeper-than-forecast 16,2 percent.

South Africa's government bonds were slightly firmer, with benchmark instrument due in 2026 shedding four asis points to 8,09 percent, but adding 50 basis since an April low of 7,59 percent.