South Africa's rand falls, investors eye U.S. jobs data

JOHANNESBURG, Aug 2 (Reuters) - South Africa's rand edged lower in early trade on Monday, struggling for direction in the absence of local catalysts with investors eyeing monthly U.S. jobs data due at the end of the week.

At 0610 GMT, the rand ZAR= traded at 14.6200 against the dollar, 0.4% weaker than its previous close.

The U.S. non-farm payrolls number due on Friday is "the key event of the week", said Bianca Botes, director at Citadel Global.

The health of the labour market is an important prerequisite for the U.S. central bank to taper monetary stimulus.

Last week, the rand clocked weekly gains thanks to a dovish tone from the U.S. Federal Reserve meeting.

Riskier currencies such as the rand thrive on U.S. rates staying low because they benefit from the interest rate differential that increases their appeal for so-called carry trade, in which investors borrow in a low-yielding currency to invest in higher-yielding assets.

In fixed income, the yield on the benchmark 2030 government bond ZAR2030= was up 0.5 basis point to 8.83%, reflecting slightly weaker prices.
Reporting by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.

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