Johannesburg - South Africa's rand held steady against the dollar early on Friday, pausing in its recent march towards the key 10.5000 resistance level.

At 08:10 SA time, the unit was trading at 10.5420 to the dollar, slightly firmer from its close in New York on Thursday.

The rand, which has notched up five days of daily gains against the dollar, received a boost from a rise in US jobless claims the previous session, climbing to its strongest level since July 28.

Signals that tensions in eastern Ukraine could ease also boosted emerging markets.

Russia, Ukraine and the European Commission presidents agreed to hold talks over gas and trade agreement disputes, along with efforts to stabilise the security situation in Ukraine.

“If the rand can get a weekly close below the 10.5000 level, a more pronounced move lower could develop,” said Oliver Alwar, a currency trader at Standard Bank.

“There are still developments in Ukraine and the Middle East to watch out for as focus shifts to next weekend's Jackson Hole and Mrs Yellen. For the day look for a 10.5000-10.6300 range.”

Yields on government bonds fell 2 basis points each to 6.56 percent on the 2015 note and to 8.21 percent on the 2026 issue. - Reuters