JOHANNESBURG, March 10 (Reuters) – The South African rand firmed early on Friday ahead of closely watched U.S. jobs data that could offer clues on the Federal Reserve’s next steps for monetary policy.
At 0630 GMT, the rand traded at 18.5300 to the dollar, almost 0.2% stronger than its previous close.
The dollar was up 0.03% against a basket of global currencies , losing some steam after a rise of jobless claims in the United States on Thursday tempered expectations of further aggressive rate hikes from the Fed.
Focus now turns to the nonfarm payrolls report due later in the day.
The rand hit a three-year low earlier in the week as gross domestic product data showed the economy had contracted more than expected, and S&P Global downgraded South Africa’s outlook to “stable” from “positive”.
The government’s benchmark 2030 bond was slightly stronger in early deals, with the yield down 4.5 basis points to 10.150%.
Reporting by Nellie Peyton
Editing by Alexander Winning
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