S.Africa's rand steady ahead of state of nation speech

Reuters
South African Reserve Bank Governor Gill Marcus shows off South Africa's new banknotes before conducting the first transaction in Pretoria
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South African Reserve Bank Governor Gill Marcus shows off South Africa's new banknotes, which features …

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa's rand was steady against the dollar on Thursday as the market looked ahead to mining data due later in the day and President Jacob Zuma's State of the Nation address.

The rand was at 8.8600 to the dollar at 0646 GMT, unchanged from its close in New York on Wednesday.

Statistics South Africa will release mining data for December at 0930 GMT, which traders said had the potential move the rand.

President Zuma's address is due at 1700 GMT, and analysts say it should be followed by concrete action to tackle stubbornly high unemployment and corruption.

"In past years, the government has not lived up to its promises and the results are becoming increasingly obvious in the official and private sector data which reflects a lack of job creation," Tradition Analytics wrote in a research note.

"Whether Zuma succeeds in boosting overall business and household confidence in the future will not depend on this speech tonight but on the actions of government in the 12 months that follow."

Government bonds were marginally weaker, with the yields on the 2026 and 2015 papers up one basis point each at 7.31 percent and 5.35 percent respectively.

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