South African rand firms in early trade

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa's rand strengthened early on Thursday, as signs of easing Sino-U.S. trade tensions and expectations that China will step up efforts soon to aid its cooling economy supported investor appetite for riskier assets.

* At 0640 GMT, the rand was 0.57 percent firmer at 14.0700 per dollar from an overnight close of 14.1500.

* The currency is expected to trade in a range of 13.9500 to 14.2500 to the dollar on Thursday, NKC African Economics said in a note.

* Markets are slowly growing less pessimistic about the chances of a Sino-U.S. trade deal after a slew of news this week pointed to easing tensions between the two major economic powers.

* China made its first major U.S. soybean purchase in more than six months on Wednesday, two U.S. traders said, and its first since U.S. President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping struck a trade war truce in early December. China is the largest buyer of U.S. soy.

* Global investors are also banking that Beijing will roll out more support measures in coming months to reduce the risk of a sharper economic slowdown.

* South African producer price inflation (PPI) data is expected at around 0930 GMT.

* Bonds were also firmer in early deals, with the yield on the benchmark 2026 paper down 7 basis points to 9.090 percent.

(Reporting by Nomvelo Chalumbira; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri)

2018-12-13 09:57:03

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