Johannesburg - The rand held steady against the dollar early on Friday, with investors preferring to wait for key US jobs data before taking clear positions.

The rand has been tracking markets in developed economies in the past two weeks, and US non-farm payrolls numbers for April due later in the session should give an important steer as to the future of Federal Reserve's policy.

At 0646 GMT, the rand was at R10.50 to the dollar, slightly weaker than its 10.4915 closing level in New York.

“The rand continues to take most of its direction from off-shore developments, especially with regards to the expected future path of U.S. monetary policy,” Barclays Africa said in a note.

“Hence, if payrolls surprise to the upside, we doubt that the rand will be able to sustain its recent gains into the weekend.”

The rand has notched up four days of gains since the start of the week, a rally that could be halted if US jobs data for April comes in stronger than the 210,000 new jobs forecast in a Reuters poll.

Locally, South African vehicle sales data for April is due at around 1100 GMT, followed by a monthly adjustment to the petrol price from the energy department.

Yields on government bonds were down just one basis point to 6.77 percent on the 2015 note and 8.435 percent on the 2026 issue.