Rand softens as U.S. data bolsters case for rate hike

South Africa's rand softened slightly early on Thursday as the dollar rallied on positive U.S. data that bolstered the chances of December rate hike by Federal Reserve.

A South African child holds a 50 rand note   in a file photo.

The JSE securities exchange's Top-40 futures index ALSIZ5 was up 0.23 percent, indicating the actual index would open flat.

By 0745 GMT the rand was 0.1 percent weaker at 14.1501 per dollar, paring some losses after dipping to a one-week low of 14.1655 overnight, as the increasing likelihood of a Fed rate hike in three weeks lifted the greenback to an eight-month peak.

"Today's U.S. holiday will keep international moves limited," currency strategist at RMB John Cairns said.

U.S. markets will be closed on Thursday and most of Friday afternoon for the Thanksgiving holiday.

"Next week is going to be a cracker given the U.S. payrolls data, a key speech by Yellen, credit reviews of South Africa by S&P and Fitch, and the ECB and OPEC meetings."

Locally, Stats SA publishes producer inflation at 0930 GMT. A Reuters poll forecast an uptick in prices, which analysts say is likely to filter through to consumer inflation and raise the risk of more policy tightening by the South African Reserve Bank.

Government bonds were mostly flat in early trade, with the benchmark issue due in 2026 unmoved at 8.465 percent.

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