Graphic: renjith krishnan

The rand gained for a second straight session against the dollar on Tuesday, strengthening to a four-day high as it pulled back from a three-year low hit last week.

However, government bonds were slightly weaker as dealers prepared to take up auction stock at 11:00 SA time.

The rand was up 0.3 percent on the dollar to 8.4680 at 08:39 SA time, off a 8.4910 close in New York. Dealers say the dollar's weak close caused some long dollar positions to unwind in the previous session and support a rand reprieve.

“The dollar/rand close below 8.50 has triggered the near-term recovery we have been advocating for the rand,” said Judy Padayachee, a technical strategist at Absa Capital.

“Dollar/rand posted a reversal pattern yesterday and has confirmed the divergence. We are targeting the 8.30 level - the 20-day moving average.”

The rand recovery was boosted by local players such as miners exchanging their dollars around the 8.50 rand level on Monday. Thin liquidity conditions with the UK market closed for a holiday also helped.

However, the recovery is viewed as only temporary because external factors such as fears of weak global growth and an unconvincing domestic recovery have not changed. Analysts say the unit may still weaken towards 8.80, its level in April 2009.

The Treasury is looking to place 500 million rand ($59 million) of 2017 paper and 800 million rand each of 2036 and 2041 bonds at its weekly sale of fixed income paper in the session.

Results are due after the auction closes at 11:00 SA time. The impending sale is largely preventing yields from tracking the firmer currency.

The 2015 yield was steady at 6.365 percent while the 14-year yield nudged up half a basis point to 8.41 percent. - Reuters