THE rand remained strong in afternoon trade on Monday on a firm euro.

"We kept steady against the euro, which in turn firmed against the dollar, so that has seen us trade near R8.85 per dollar for most of the day," a local trader said.

At 4.11pm‚ the rand was bid at R8.8534 to the US dollar from Friday’s close of R8.8909. The local currency was bid at R11.5507 to the euro from its previous close of R11.5527 and at R14.2276 against sterling from R14.2255 before.

The euro was bid at $1.3044 from $1.2996 at its previous close.

Dow Jones Newswires reported that eurozone manufacturing activity contracted for the ninth consecutive month in November, albeit at a slower pace than in October, indicating that the 17-nation economy will struggle to grow in the final three months of the year, a survey showed on Monday.

Data firm Markit’s purchasing managers’ index rose to 46.2 in November from 45.4 in October, unchanged from its preliminary reading, and was in line with economist forecasts. A level above 50 signals expanding activity, while below 50 signals a contraction.