(Adds latest prices, analyst quotes)
JOHANNESBURG, April 26 (Reuters) - South Africa's rand edged higher early on Monday in thin trade ahead of a national holiday, with traders unlikely to take many big bets before key data due later in the week.
At 1515 GMT, the rand ZAR=D3 was 0.17% firmer at 14.2625 per dollar, not far off its close at 14.2875 on Friday in New York.
The rand has made solid gains in April, outperforming its emerging market peers, with gains of around 3% year-to-date against the U.S. dollar, as higher commodity prices cushioned demand for the currency against rising U.S. Treasury yields.
The release of producer price inflation data on Wednesday kicks off a series of month-end announcements, including national budget and trade figures, which may provide direction for the currency in addition to the U.S. Federal Reserve meeting this week.
"Should the trade balance show signs of deteriorating faster than expected as local demand picks up, the market may reassess its outlook for the ZAR for the rest of the year," economists at ETM Analytics said.
The dollar =USD inched up on the day with investors consolidating positions ahead of the Fed meeting, and while no major policy changes are expected, investors will pay close attention to comments from Chairman Jerome Powell. on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) inched up on optimism about the prospect of a global economic recovery from the pandemic.
That mood was boosted by the South African health ministry's announcement on Monday of the resumption of a research study into Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ )'s JNJ.N COVID-19 vaccine that was paused over very rare cases of blood clots. benchmark all-share index .JALSH rose up 0.41% to end at 67,573 points and the blue-chip index of top 40 companies .JTOPI closed up 0.39% to 61,717 points.
Aspen Pharmacare APNJ.J , which will be manufacturing the J&J vaccines in the country, rose more than 10%. Drugstore chain Clicks Group CLSJ.J , which will be among the companies distributing the shot and vaccinating the population, ended up almost 6%.
Bonds firmed, with the yield on the 2030 benchmark issue ZAR2030= shedding 6 basis point to 9.155%.
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