The rand staged a modest recovery on Thursday morning as the upward momentum in the dollar abated, giving emerging-market currencies some breathing space.

"The key takeaway is that the rand has been a passenger to external dynamics, specifically the US interest rate complex, which makes emerging market assets relatively less attractive," ETM market analyst Halen Bothma said.

The yield on the benchmark US 10-year paper hovered just above the 3% handle for the first time since January 2014, driven by the expectation of high inflation, which could ultimately lead to high interest rates in the US.

The local currency retreated to a four-month low to the dollar on Thursday, raising inflation concerns.

The weaker rand came at the time when oil prices were trending higher while economic data pointed to continued signs economic recovery.

Consumer confidence skyrocketed to a record high in the first quarter, according to the First National Bank-Bureau for Economic Research consumer confidence index, which was mainly attributed to the election of Cyril Ramaphosa as head of state.

Markets were also monitoring the public-sector wage talks, which have the potential to affect inflation.

At 9.20am, the rand was at R12.3785 to the dollar from R12.4395, R15.0742 to the euro from R15.1303 and at R17.2585 to the pound from R17.3335.

The euro was at $1.2176, from $1.2161.