China drags rand weaker, short term looks up

Fri Apr 13, 2012 6:47am GMT

* Rand eases vs dollar on weak China GDP

* Short term outlook positive

* Sale of inflation linked bonds, results after 0900 GMT

JOHANNESBURG, April 13 (Reuters) - South Africa's rand retreated against the dollar, dragged by worse-than-expected Chinese economic data which has seen commodity currencies fall in early Friday trade.

The rand is susceptible to Chinese economic developments as about 30 percent of South Africa's exports are to Asia. The data showed China's first-quarter growth was at its slowest in nearly three years and below economists' expectations.

The rand was down just over half a percent at a session low of 7.9099 at 0628 GMT, compared to a 7.8650 close in New York on Thursday, when the rand had gained 1.8 percent.

Analysts say Thursday's gains may not all be eroded and the rand could, in the very short term, firm up to the 7.80 area.

"Yesterday the rand came back against all the majors, it's improved a bit and showing some stability. (The) pick-up in the rand points to some near-term stability," said Judy Padayachee, a technical strategist at Absa.

Padayachee said she expected further rand recovery towards the 7.75-7.80 area into next week, and then the rand may turn again by month end.

Government bonds were steady at 6.70 percent on the 2015 note and 8.455 percent on the 2026 issue, still holding onto Thursday's rand-supported gains.

Treasury is looking to sell 800 million rand ($101.25 million) in inflation-linked paper between the 2028, 2017 and 2022, results are due after auction closes at 0900 GMT. ($1 = 7.9010 South African rand) (Reporting by Xola Potelwa; editing by David Dolan)

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