South Africa's rand gained against the dollar early on Thursday, recovering some of the past week's losses as dovish comments by the US Federal Reserve chair and positive Chinese export data gave emerging market currencies a lift.
At 0707 GMT, the rand traded at R13.23 versus the dollar, up 0.2% from its New York close on R13.2550.
The US economy is expected to warrant gradual increases in interest rates, Fed chairperson Janet Yellen said in congressional testimony on Wednesday.
"Yellen was more dovish than expected," said RMB Global Markets analyst John Cairns, adding that her comments contributed to a "better global risk-on environment" boosting emerging currencies such as the rand.
Exports from China, the world's second largest economy, rose 11.3% from a year earlier, while imports expanded 17.2% , both beating analysts' expectations, official data showed.
The rand had retreated last week and dropped to a two-month low earlier this week on local political factors, but might have been oversold.
"...the relative underperformance of the past week has also reversed, indicating that rand sentiment had become too negative," said Cairns.
Stocks opened higher, with the JSE securities exchange's Top-40 index up 0.4% at 0707 GMT.
Government bonds firmed, and the yield for the benchmark instrument due in 2026 declined 2 basis points to 8.755%.