12/07/2010 A generic pic of the JSE board at Sandton JHB. Photo: Leon Nicholas

S.Africa rand steady vs dlr, bonds at record highs

JOHANNESBURG, July 5 (Reuters) - South Africa's rand was a touch softer against the dollar while government bonds held at multi-month highs on Thursday as the market digested dovish Reserve Banks comments that suggested domestic rates will stay at 30-year lows for some time.

The yield on the three year benchmark bond was down two basis points at an all-time low of 5.94 percent while that for the equally heavily traded 14-year paper was at 7.83 percent, its lowest since early September 2011.

The Reserve Bank said in its annual report on Wednesday inflation should stay contained within a 3-6 percent target until the end of 2014, adding that the domestic growth outlook had deteriorated.

“The comments are certainly supportive of a further push lower in bond yields,” RMB said in a market note.

The rand was largely steady against the dollar in early trade, losing some of the steam that had pushed it to its strongest levels since mid-May earlier in the week.

By 0653 GMT the currency was at 8.1403/dolar, little changed from Wednesday's close at 8.1361.

The rand would take its cue largely from global currency moves ahead of European Central Bank and Bank of England policy meetings later in the day, as well as U.S. jobs data due out on Friday, market watchers said.

Signs of further policy easing from developed countries which are already sitting on near-zero rates could be supportive of the local currency, Standard Bank trader Warrick Butler said.

“If there is cheap G7 cash going around then you have to expect that a lot of it will flow into the high yielders such as the rand,” Butler said. -Reuters