October 5, 2018 / 7:27 AM / 11 days ago

South Africa's rand firms as dollar rally pauses, stocks down

JOHANNESBURG, Oct 5 (Reuters) - South Africa’s rand firmed against the dollar early on Friday as the dollar’s rally paused, with investors waiting for monthly U.S. jobs data later in the day.

* The rand was 0.24 percent stronger at 14.8225 per dollar at 0716 GMT, having closed in New York at 14.8575.

* “A strong September U.S. non-farm payrolls figure is likely to stir market volatility,” Rand Merchant Bank analysts wrote in a note. “If Wednesday’s strong read of U.S. private employment is anything to go by, we are in for a bumpy ride.”

* The private payroll numbers were seen as boosting the odds that U.S. jobs data for September would also be stronger than expected, likely indicating the tightening cycle by the Federal Reserve will continue.

* In fixed income, the yield on the benchmark government bond due in 2026 rose 4.5 basis points to 9.245 percent.

* On the stock market, the Top-40 index was down 0.94 percent while the broader all-share fell 0.74 percent in early trade.

* Shares in MTN Group fell more than 9 percent after a Bloomberg report that Nigeria is seeking to charge 15 percent interest on an $8 billion claim. (Reporting by Nomvelo Chalumbira; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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