THE rand was firmer against the dollar late on Tuesday, albeit still in weak territory, after recent major sell-offs caused by Chinese economic growth concerns, weighed on commodity currencies such as the rand.

The rand traded more than 1% firmer, despite local manufacturing production data decreasing 1% year on year in November, after contracting 2.1% year on year in October.

At 3.36pm, the rand was trading at R16.5866 against the dollar from a previous close of R16.7751. It hit its worst level of R16.9549/$ in morning trade.

Against the euro the rand was at R17.9885 from R18.2181 previously, and R23.9263 against the pound from R24.4026.

The euro was at $1.0846 from a previous close of $1.0859.

Treasury One chief currency dealer Wichard Cilliers said as long as the situation remained negative in China, emerging markets would remain under pressure.

"This could go on for a while as the latest figures out of China do not fill anybody with considerable hope. This has led to all emerging markets being under pressure, but SA is moving weaker a bit more than the rest," he said.

"This implies that there are local factors that are influencing the rand."

Mr Cilliers said should the rand fall out of bed again, it could prompt the South African Reserve Bank, which has been quite conspicuous in its inactivity, to act.

The rand had weakened more than 9% against the dollar this year.