THE rand continued to slide in afternoon trade as commodities remained under pressure.

According to analysts, investor appetite for risk-sensitive assets was dented after the minutes of US Federal Reserve showed no consensus on further easing measures to reinvigorate the world's biggest economy.

With no firm signal on the easing measures, the euro slid deeper into negative territory, keeping the dollar on the front foot.

Positive local and international data released on Thursday had little impact on the markets.

Manufacturing production in South Africa increased by 4,2% year on year in May after a revised rise of 1,1% (1,2%) in April, while industrial production in the eurozone rose unexpectedly in May by 0,6% as demand for goods rose.

At 3.47pm the rand was bid at R8,3585 to the dollar from a previous close of R8,2371, at R10,1843 to the euro from a previous close of R10,0796 and at R12,8994 against sterling from R12,7697 before.

The euro was bid at $1,2186 from a previous close of $1,2244.

A local trader said the rand was trading in low ranges, and that upcoming gross domestic product (GDP) data from China was likely to provide direction.

"It has been a risk-off day. The commodities have been under pressure and as result we have seen the rand trading in low ranges. We now wait for the Chinese gross domestic product and see how it will move the markets," the trader said.

The euro fell below $1,22 for the first time in two years during European trading hours on Thursday, while the yen was broadly stronger after the Bank of Japan held off from expanding its asset-purchase programme, Dow Jones Newswires reported.

Preceding theses events was an unexpected interest rate cut by the Bank of Korea and dismal Australian jobs data, which added to the downbeat tone in Asia.

mungadzes@bdfm.co.za