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In South Africa Rand edges up, market expects hawkish central bank statement

Rand up 0.33 percent at 14.3015 by 0645 GMT, compared with Wednesday's New York close at 14.2810.

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A street money changer counts South African Rands in Harare, Zimbabwe, May 5, 2016. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo play A street money changer counts South African Rands in Harare, Zimbabwe, May 5, 2016. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

South Africa's rand traded slightly firmer against the dollar on Thursday ahead of what traders expect to be a hawkish monetary policy statement, although the central bank is likely to keep rates on hold for now.

* Rand up 0.33 percent at 14.3015 by 0645 GMT, compared with Wednesday's New York close at 14.2810.

* Rand second-strongest performer among emerging market currencies tracked by Reuters, behind Turkish lira.

* Reserve Bank rate decision from 1300 GMT, around same time as European Central Bank policy statement.

* SARB expected to keep benchmark repo rate at 7 percent, according to Reuters poll of 31 economists.

* Blue chip Top-40 futures index ticks up just 0.06 percent, pointing to flat start for bourse.

* Government bonds also flat, with yield on the 2026 benchmark down unchanged from its previous close at 8.79 percent.

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