South Africa's rand nudged higher against the dollar in late Johannesburg trade on Thursday as risk appetite received a boost from favourable U.S. data but further weakness still lurks while euro zone debt worries remain, traders said.

The rand was up 0.25 percent at 8.17 to the greenback by 1633 GMT compared with its previous close at 8.1905. It was off Thursday's session low of 8.2651/dollar, its weakest mark in nearly a month.

We had numbers out of the U.S. which were much better than expected. The dollar has lost a bit of ground against the euro and the crosses and with that we're seen the rand bouncing up a little, said Paul Chakaduka, a currency and equities dealer at Global Trader.

Government bonds weakened slightly and yields were firmer in what traders said was a mild correction in a market that might have gone overboard in pricing in the chance of further domestic interest rate cuts.

The Reserve Bank left its repo rate unchanged at 5.5 percent for the sixth consecutive policy meeting last week and sounded a hawkish tone on inflation, leading market players to scale down their expectations that rates could dip further from current three-decade lows.

The market might have priced-in too much of (the chance for) a cut and we're seeing this in the debt market now, a Johannesburg trader said.

The the yield on the 2015 government bond added 2.5 basis points to 6.82 percent and that for the longer-dated 2026 bond paper was flat at 8.48 percent.

The rand remains vulnerable to wild swings in risk appetite which have characterised global trade in the last few months as investors worry that debt problems in the euro zone could spread, dealers said.