December 31, 2019 / 8:18 AM / 3 months ago

South Africa's rand gains in early trade

JOHANNESBURG, Dec 31 (Reuters) - South Africa’s rand rose on Tuesday, holding on to gains from previous sessions triggered by a global investor hunt for high yields and optimism over a breakthrough in trade standoff between China and the United States.

At 0800 GMT, the rand was up 0.28% at 14.0800 after an overnight close of 14.1200.

The rand has gained about 5% since mid-December, despite a raft of data releases showing a weak economy and nationwide blackouts by state power company Eskom, with investors willing to overlook the negatives and pocket the high yield.

The currency has hovered around a five-month best against the dollar for the last week. In the previous session it crossed below 14.00 before succumbing to some profit-taking as traders wrapped up positions heading into the end of the year.

With local markets closing early and volumes already slim, the rand is set to trade between 14.00 and 14.20 for the rest of the week.

Bonds were steady, with the yield on the benchmark 2026 debt at 8.245%.

Data from the central bank earlier showed growth in private- sector credit in slowed to 6.60% year-on-year in November from 7.28% in October, underling the weak consumer activity likely to keep economic growth constrained in 2020.

Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana, editing by Larry King

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