Picture: THINKSTOCK
Picture: THINKSTOCK

The rand was slightly stronger on Friday morning, but off this week’s best levels.

The retreat in the local currency came as the dollar gathered strength ahead of the release of the US nonfarm payrolls data later in the day.

The jobs report — and, in particular, wage growth — is likely to influence the US Federal Reserve’s approach to interest rates in 2018.

Economists expect the world’s largest economy to have created 200,000 jobs in November, down from 261,000 in October, while average hourly earnings are expected to have risen at an annual rate of 2.7%, from 2.4% in October.

Analysts say wage growth tends to exert upward pressure on inflation, which has been muted, despite the relatively strong economic growth.

Higher US rates could reduce the appeal of the so-called carry trade — where money is borrowed in low interest-rate environments and invested in currencies that offer higher returns.

The focus will return to local politics next week, when the ANC elective conference begins. The conference is regarded in many quarters as a break-or-make event.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and ANC MP Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma are front runners to succeed President Jacob Zuma.

At 9.47am, the rand was at R13.7147 to the dollar from R13.7339, at R16.1165 to the euro from R16.1676 and at R18.5003 to the pound from R18.5068.

The euro was at $1.1751, from $1.1772 in the previous close.

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