JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's rand was a bit softer against the dollar early on Wednesday, largely reflecting the greenback's broad-based gains, with the market looking to a European Central Bank meeting and US non-farm jobs data for clues on the health of the global economy.

The rand was down 0.19 percent at 8.4285 by 0631 GMT after closing Tuesday's session at 8.4127.

“The rand is opening weaker mainly because the dollar is stronger against the board. Everyone is just waiting for the ECB meeting tomorrow and non-farms on Friday for direction,” said Standard Bank trader Jan Defouw.

“Investors are still worried about Lonmin but today's rand moves are not about that really,” he added, referring to labour unrest at Lonmin's Marikana mine which left 44 people dead in August, 34 of them killed when police opened fire on striking miners.

The violence weighed on South African assets in August and analysts say it has dented South Africa's investment image to an extent.

Government bonds reversed the previous day's gains on Wednesday, with the yield on the three-year paper adding 3.5 basis points to 5.42 percent and that for the 14-year issue gaining four basis points to 7.355 percent. - Reuters