In South Africa Rand firms, stocks set to open lower

At 0650 GMT, the rand had traded at 14.7700 per dollar, 1.6 percent firmer from Wednesday's New York close of 15.0150, which was its weakest level since April 8, according to Thomson Reuters data.

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The hand of Former South African Reserve Bank Governor Gill Marcus is seen holding South Africa's new rand banknotes - which feature an image of former president Nelson Mandela on the front in a file photo. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko play The hand of Former South African Reserve Bank Governor Gill Marcus is seen holding South Africa's new rand banknotes - which feature an image of former president Nelson Mandela on the front in a file photo. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko
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South Africa's rand firmed against the dollar in early trade on Thursday, recovering from a nearly 4-week low hit in the previous session, but analysts said concerns about the ailing economy still posed a risk.

At 0650 GMT, the rand had traded at 14.7700 per dollar, 1.6 percent firmer from Wednesday's New York close of 15.0150, which was its weakest level since April 8, according to Thomson Reuters data.

However, the unit was far off a five-month high of 14.1165 touched on Friday as risk sentiment remained sour with slow global growth.

"ZAR breached 15.0000/dollar for first time in more than 3 weeks during New York trade, but managed to overturn some losses thereafter. Relief rally has hit speed bump and if U.S. jobs data beat expectations tomorrow local unit might be in for more pain," NKC African Economics said in a note.

"Expected range on rand today: 14.75/dollar - 15.10/dollar."

A stronger outcome to the U.S. jobs data could increase the chances of the Federal Reserve raising interest rates, lending some support to the dollar.

Stocks were set to open lower at 0700 GMT, with the JSE securities exchange's Top-40 futures index down 0.33 percent.

In fixed income, the yield for the benchmark government bond due in 2026 was down 4 basis points to 9.145 percent.

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