Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

The rand held at stronger levels below $13/$ in late afternoon trade on Thursday, as the weaker dollar presented the possibility of further strength for the local currency.

The rand traded in a tight range between R12.90 and R13.04 on the day.

The dollar softened on firmer US treasuries and renewed testimony by US Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen that the Fed was ready to raise interest rates, should the US economy overheat.

Her views before congress followed sharply higher US consumer inflation data for January, released on Wednesday, which indicated that inflation rose from 2.1% to 2.5%, the highest level in more than seven years.

The fact that Yellen could not give more hawkish direction to the dollar acted as a barrier to further strength, after gaining 1.45% against the euro since the beginning of February.

Analysts at Nedbank Corporate and Investment Banking said the rand had again posted a resilient performance this week.

"The break through R13 has created the potential for an attempt on the technical level at R12.80, providing the market does not encounter any unfortunate political developments," Nedbank CIB said.

At 3.41pm the rand was at R12.9689 against the dollar from R12.9176.

It was at R13.7986 against the euro from R13.6890 and at R16.2093 against the pound from R16.0920.

The euro was at $1.064 from $1.0598.

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