South African rand firms in thin trade

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s rand firmed in thin trade on Wednesday, ahead of the last economic data releases of the year later this week.

At 1003 GMT, the rand traded at 18.5075 against the dollar, about 0.8% stronger than its previous close.

“We expect the local currency to remain fairly range-bound until the new year,” said Andre Cilliers, currency strategist at TreasuryONE.

South African money supply, trade and budget balance data for the month of November are all due on Friday.

On the stock market, the Top-40 index was last trading about 3% higher.

South Africa’s benchmark 2030 government bond was marginally stronger, with the yield down 1 basis point at 9.735%.

(Reporting by Bhargav Acharya; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)