File photo: AP

Johannesburg‚ Dec 27 (I-Net Bridge) - The rand was steady in extremely quiet early trade on Thursday‚ as SA markets reopened after the Christmas holidays.

With many players still away‚ conditions are expected to remain very thin‚ with global currency markets likely to be eyed for direction.

At 08:38am‚ the rand was bid at R8.5861 to the US dollar from its previous close of R8.5657. The local currency was bid at R11.3641 to the euro from its previous close of R11.3265 and at R13.8463 against sterling from R13.8039 before.

The euro was bid at $1.3243 from its overnight close of $1.3227.

Dow Jones Newswires reports that the yen continued its downward trend amid recent calls by incoming prime minister Shinzo Abe for the central bank to introduce further easing measures‚ and weaken the local currency to support Japan's economy.

Mr. Abe is scheduled to announce his Cabinet lineup later Wednesday after being formally elected as prime minister in a special session of the lower house of parliament.

“The yen is firmly on a weakening path‚ and there is no meaningful rebound in sight at the moment‚” said Daisuke Uno‚ strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp.

“However‚ (the Bank of Japan's) monetary policy easing as well as inflation targeting expectations are almost completely factored in now as the new (Liberal Democratic Party) government takes the reins. Technically a dollar-yen level of 85.53 is the next target‚ and by (the fiscal year) end (March 2013-end) the 86-87 mark is likely‚ but the fall will be at a decelerated pace than what we've seen to this point‚” he added.

The U.S. dollar was recently at Y85.28 against the Japanese yen from Y84.78 early Wednesday in Asia.

8.38am Bids Range so far Previous Close

(6:38am GMT)

Dollar/rand 8.5861 8.5532 - 8.5866 8.5657

Euro/rand 11.3641 11.3217 - 11.3728 11.3265

Sterling/rand 13.8463 13.8041 - 13.8604 13.8039

Euro/dollar 1.3243 1.3222 - 1.3246 1.3227