JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - The South African rand extended the previous day's strong gains early on Friday, supported by expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve may soon pause its rate-hiking cycle.
Data releases pointing to cooling U.S. inflation have pushed the dollar to an almost one-year low against major peers.
At 0630 GMT, the rand traded at 18.0150 against the dollar, up about 0.2% on its closing level on Thursday and taking gains since the end of last week above 0.7%.
With no major domestic data on Friday, the rand is expected to track moves on global markets.
South Africa's February mining and manufacturing output came in worse than expected this week, further evidence that Africa's most industrialised economy started the year on a weak footing.
On Thursday executives speaking at a South Africa investment conference said the country needed to urgently fix energy, transport and security challenges to reverse souring sentiment.
(Reporting by Alexander Winning; editing by Jason Neely)