South African bonds held steady on Tuesday afternoon, with sliding oil prices countering the effect of a weaker rand.

The price of international benchmark Brent crude slipped more than 2% to $45 a barrel for the first time since November, a development that has the potential to keep local consumer inflation in check.

The rand, on the other hand, remained weak, higher than R13 to the dollar, although it was off the day’s worst levels.

A low inflation profile makes local bonds appealing on a real-returns perspective.

The market showed little reaction to worse-than-expected figures on SA’s current-account balance. The country’s current-account deficit widened to 2.1% of GDP in the first quarter of 2017, from 1.7% in the fourth quarter 2016‚ the Reserve Bank said in its quarterly bulletin earlier in the day.

The R92bn deficit was above the R85bn forecast by economists in a Trading Economics survey.

Standard Bank trader Warrick Butler said the data highlighted the "poor fundamentals of the country".

At 3.45pm, the R186 was bid at 8.55%, unchanged from Monday. The rand was at R13.0283 to the dollar from R12.9891.

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