File photo: AP

Johannesburg‚ Dec 6 (I-Net Bridge) - The rand strengthened before noon on Thursday after better-than-expected data relieved pressure on the local currency.

"The current strength of the rand is mainly due to the current account not widening. Before it was released it was weaker‚ but the news made the rand less vulnerable to offshore markets‚" said Kuziva Muganiwa‚ a global market analyst from Vunani Private Clients.

At 11.31am‚ the rand was bid at R8.7518 to the US dollar from Wednesday's close of R8.7667. The local currency was bid at R11.4401 to the euro from its previous close of R11.4548 and at R14.0818 against sterling from R14.0977 before.

The euro was bid at $1.3074 from Wednesday's close of $1.3068.

Earlier‚ data showed SA's third quarter current account deficit remained unchanged at 6.4%.

"I think everybody expected it to widen‚ so this is sort of a surprise. This could also add to the probability that the South African reserve bank will keep rates unchanged at its next MPC meeting. The reason being the South African economy isn't as bad as expected‚ from an export point of view‚ at the moment. The fact is that the global economy as a whole remains depressed. The market is continuously looking for something that could give direction‚ like local events‚" Muganiwa said.

11.31am Bids Range so far Previous Close

(9.31am GMT)

Dollar/rand 8.7518 8.7395 - 8.7907 8.7667

Euro/rand 11.4401 11.4087 - 11.4709 11.4548

Sterling/rand 14.0818 14.0664 - 14.1325 14.0977

Euro/dollar 1.3074 1.3040 - 1.3078 1.3068

-I-Net Bridge