Cape Town - South Africa’s rand climbed from a five-year low and bonds strengthened for the first time in three days after US payrolls rose less than forecast in December and data showed Chinese imports accelerated.

US employers hired 74,000 workers in last month, trailing the 197,000 forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists and casting doubt on the strength of the economy as the Federal Reserve reduces stimulus that helped fuel demand for South African bonds.

China’s imports rose the most in five months in December, indicating domestic demand will support growth in South Africa’s biggest trading partner.

“We have to keep an eye on the US, and we have to keep an eye on China, because the rand is being driven by global factors,” Ion de Vleeschauwer, chief currency trader at Bidvest Bank Ltd., said by phone from Johannesburg before the jobs data was released.

“There has been a lot of dollar buying in the past few days so we’re seeing a bit of consolidation.”

The rand gained 0.5 percent to 10.7479 per dollar by 4:11 p.m. in Johannesburg, paring its depreciation this year to 2.4 percent.

Yields on benchmark rand bonds due December 2026 dropped 10 basis points, or 0.1 percentage point, to 8.19 percent, the lowest on a closing basis since December 24.

The Fed said in December it will taper bond buying to $75 billion a month from $85 billion.

They will probably reduce purchases in $10 billion increments over the next seven meetings before ending them in December, according to the median forecast in a Bloomberg survey.

China’s trade data showed inbound shipments increased 8.3 percent from a year earlier, beating the median estimate for 5 percent growth in a Bloomberg survey. - Bloomberg News