JOHANNESBURG, Sept 6 South Africa's rand
strengthened early on Tuesday, extending gains to a fourth
consecutive session in thin trade after a holiday in the United
States and ahead of local GDP data expected to show the economy
* Rand 0.6 percent firmer at 14.2950 per dollar at 0650 GMT
versus overnight close of 14.3800.
* Government bonds also firmer. Yield on benchmark 2026
paper down 4 basis points to 8.81 percent.
* Q2 GDP release at 0930 GMT. Positive numbers would lift
sentiment following 1.2 percent contraction in Q1.
* Political unease lingering with police position still
unclear on possible arrest of Finance Minster Pravin Gordhan.
* Blue chip futures index up 0.2 percent, indicating bourse
opening firmer at 0700 GMT.
(Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana; Editing by Ed Cropley)