New South African bank notes featuring an image of former South African President Nelson Mandela are displayed at an office in Johannesburg
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa's rand eked out gains early on Friday as positive trade date from China helped ease some of the uncertainty over the global economy that has seen emerging markets struggle for most of the week.
At 0645 GMT the rand was 0.23 percent firmer at 12.0300 per dollar compared to an overnight close of 12.0575, bringing gains for the week to 0.6 percent in low liquidity conditions that have seen the unit struggle for momentum.
"In the overnight session the rand has lost some ground, this as global uncertainty on a number of fronts continues. It remains firmly within the technical range between 11.8000 and 12.2000," said senior analyst at Nedbank Reezwana Sumad.
The rand briefly rallied to a one-week best of 11.9250 on Wednesday, before the move was scuppered by worries of a Sino-U.S. trade war and President Donald Trump's confusing Syria stance - saying the United States might attack soon, or might not.
Customs data from China on Friday showed imports in the world's No. 2 economy grew 14.4 percent, boosting sentiment toward the currencies of commodity exporters such as South Africa and Australia.
Bonds were weaker, with yield on the benchmark 2026 paper up 0.5 basis points to 8.085 percent.
Flows between the rand and bonds have diverged this week, with traders at Rand Merchant Bank saying bonds were focused on local issues while the rand moved on international themes.
Stocks opened weaker at 0700 GMT, with the Johannesburg Top-40 index down 0.22 percent AT 49,700.
(Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana; Editing by Ed Stoddard)
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