File photo: Reuters

Johannesburg - The rand held firm against the dollar early on Monday, trading near a three-week high on global demand for riskier assets, while investors waited for domestic first quarter jobs data.

The currency strengthened to 10.4500 to the dollar at 0630 GMT, 0.24 percent firmer than its close in New York on Friday.

“Emerging markets seem to have been the beneficiaries of improving global investor sentiment and the escalating violence in the Ukraine pushing a reallocation of new offshore inflows to the local economy,” Rand Merchant Bank's Thando Vokwana said in a note to clients.

The dollar was under some pressure from a US jobs report on Friday that showed an increasing number of Americans have stopped looking for jobs.

South Africa will release its own employment data at 0930 GMT, where expectations are for an increase in the jobless rate to 24.6 percent in the first quarter.

The rand could also come under pressure because of concerns around a strike in the platinum belt that has been going on for over three months.

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), who rejected the latest wage offer from Lonmin, Anglo American Platinum and Impala Platinum last week, is due to hold a news conference at 0900 GMT.

Yields on government bonds were down 2.5 basis points to 6.74 percent on the 2015 note and fell 2 basis points to 8.41 percent on the 2026 issue.