South African rand weakens after surge in U.S. payrolls gains

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) -South Africa’s rand weakened against the dollar on Friday after a surge in U.S. payrolls gains dampened hopes of an early interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve.

At 1439 GMT, the rand traded at 18.9250 against the dollar, about 0.9% weaker than its previous close.

The dollar index was last trading up 0.4% at 104.1 against a basket of major currencies.

Data on Friday showed U.S. job growth accelerated in November while the unemployment rate fell to 3.7%, signs of underlying labour market strength that suggested financial market expectations of a rate cut early next year were probably premature.

Like most emerging market currencies, the rand tends to take cues from global factors such as U.S. monetary policy in addition to local events.

Investors in South Africa are still on the lookout for an announcement on the appointment of a new chief executive officer at struggling utility Eskom after Bloomberg reported that Dan Marokane was set to be appointed CEO.

On the stock market, the Top-40 index was down over 1.5%.

(Reporting by Bhargav Acharya; Editing by Gerry Doyle)