Johannesburg - The rand advanced to a near one-month high against the dollar on Friday and could strengthen further after breaking out of the R8.80 to R9.00 range in which it has traded recently.
The rand was at R8.8799/$ at 08:30, up 0.2% from Thursday's New York close. Earlier, it hit a high of R8.7701, a level not seen since January 17.
The currency edged up despite disappointing mining data released on Thursday, which showed that South Africa's gold output fell by 21.2% year-on-year in December while total mineral production fell by 7.5%.
Analysts described President Jacob Zuma's State of the Nation address, also on Thursday, as a "yawn" and said its effect on the rand was "neutral" with investors likely to look for more details about the government's intentions from next week's budget speech.
"The rand finally managed to gain some traction yesterday, breaking through our recent range (and importantly) closing below it," wrote Standard Bank trader Warrick Butler in a research note.
"So now we look for a weekly close below, which I hope will provide the momentum for a move lower. Expect a bit of congestion between R8.7200 and R8.7500 though."
Government bond yields nudged lower, down 4 basis points on the 2026 paper and 1 basis point on the 2015 instrument.
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