South African rand edges lower ahead of U.S. inflation data

Aug 10 (Reuters) - South Africa's rand edged lower in early trade on Wednesday, as investors awaited U.S. inflation data to gauge the pace of interest rate hikes.

At 0649 GMT, the rand ZAR=D3 traded at 16.6300 against the dollar, down 0.15% from its previous close.

The dollar index =USD , which measures the currency against six rivals, was steady as traders remained cautious ahead of key data due at 1230 GMT.

Economists expect year-on-year headline inflation USCPNY=ECI to be running at 8.7%, a slight retreat from June's 9.1% figure.

A high U.S. inflation print, following last week's strong jobs numbers, will likely push the Federal Reserve to continue with aggressive rate hikes.

"Any deviation from the 8.7% estimate could see some volatility in markets this afternoon," Andre Cilliers, currency strategist at TreasuryONE, said in a research note.

Like most emerging market currencies, the rand is susceptible to dollar moves and often takes cues from global drivers in the absence of major local economic data points.

The government's benchmark 2030 bond ZAR2030= was slightly lower in early deals, with the yield up 2 basis points to 10.280%.

Reporting by Bhargav Acharya in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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