Johannesburg - South Africa's rand was steady against the dollar on Friday after gaining more than 1 percent the previous day, but its direction will depend on the strength of US employment data.

The rand was at 11.0350 to the dollar at 08:16 SA time, barely changed from the previous day's New York close.

It rose more than 1 percent to 10.9760 on Thursday as emerging market currencies rallied on a weaker dollar.

The United States will release the closely watched non-farm payrolls report later on Friday which will determine how the dollar performs and whether the rand can maintain its stability.

“We believe that the true litmus test for the rand will be its reaction to today's US employment report release for January,” Absa Capital analysts wrote in a note.

“If the report proves encouraging then the rand is likely to incur a fresh bout of weakness, while a disappointing result could ensure further short covering into the weekend.”

The yield on the 2026 government bond fell 5 basis points to 8.655 percent while that on the 2015 paper dropped 5.5 basis points to 7.045 percent. - Reuters