Johannesburg - The rand was slightly firmer in late afternoon trade on Wednesday, having recouped losses after the collapsing Russian rouble slowed its decline.

The rouble's tumble - it is down 50 percent so far this year - has impacted other emerging market currencies, such as the rand. But the drop slowed slightly as Russia's finance ministry said it had started selling foreign currency, helping the rand stage a tentative recovery.

Still, the South African currency remains vulnerable to problems at home, where investors are worried about gaping current account and budget deficits, traders said.

“Underlying problems remain, not least the large current account deficit,” London-based economic consultancy firm Capital Economics said in a note.

By 1543 GMT the rand inched up 0.02 percent to 11.64 per dollar from a close of 11.6500 in New York. The currency is not far from a six-year low hit last week when official data showed the current account shortfall had missed market expectations.

Yields on local bonds were higher, with the benchmark issue due in 2026 adding 13 basis points to 8.11 percent, a fresh two-month high, as the debt market was also hit by sour sentiment. - Reuters