Johannesburg - The South African
rand traded slightly firmer against the dollar on Tuesday,
drawing strength from hopes of a successful conclusion to debt
swap negotiations in Greece which boosted risk appetite in
Government bonds were little changed on the JSE exchange
following signs of increased demand from foreigners seeking
higher yields as interest rates in developed countries remain
The rand showed little reaction to data showing a trade
surplus of R4.7bn in December
compared with an R8bn deficit in November, as analysts
said the swing bodes well for the currency.
"The data is positive from a GDP differential perspective as
it implies lower imports and relatively robust exports,"
Standard Bank strategist Nomvuyo Guma said.
By 15:30 GMT the rand was at 7.7956 against the
greenback, off a session high of 7.7557 and up 0.46 percent from
Monday's New York close of 7.8320.
"The rand continues to oscillate within a broader range,
very much in line with broader risk sentiment. Today we continue
to track the positive tone in the external emerging market and
risk environment, probably driven by the euro going above the
1.32 level," Absa Capital trader Duncan Howes said.
"We're staying more constructive on the (rand) within the
range. We think risk will continue to be driven by events and
news out of Europe and also end of the week we look at U.S.
non-farm payrolls (for direction)."
Benchmark government bonds were flat.
The yield on the three-year bond dipped one basis
point from Monday's close to 6.46 percent while that for the
longer-dated 2026 issue inched up half a basis point
to 8.19 percent.
Foreigners have taken up South Africa's better yielding debt
so far this year as rates in Europe and the United States remain
subdued, with net inflows into the secondary bond market
amounting to 4.1 billion rand last week.
Demand was also high at Tuesday's weekly bond auction for
primary dealers, with the Treasury selling R2.1bn of
the 2018, 2020 and 2031 issues at
bid-to-cover ratios of 3.87, 3.93 and 1.89 respectively.