In South Africa Rand firmer on risk appetite, eyes on local trade data

At 0708 GMT, the rand traded at 14.2015 per dollar, 0.58 percent stronger from Thursday's New York close.

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South African Rand coins are seen in this photo illustration taken September 9, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings play South African Rand coins are seen in this photo illustration taken September 9, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings
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South Africa's rand firmed against the dollar early on Friday, holding on to a one-week high buoyed by risk appetite after a string of disappointing data releases from the United States.

At 0708 GMT, the rand traded at 14.2015 per dollar, 0.58 percent stronger from Thursday's New York close.

Since the previous session, the currency has been trading at its firmest levels since April 21 as the dollar faded after economic growth in the U.S. braked to its slowest in two years.

The weak growth figures came after the U.S. central bank on Wednesday left its benchmark lending rate unchanged and suggested it was in no hurry to tighten monetary policy, cheering global risk appetite in the process.

"The rand rally is getting going again, but to accelerate it needs ongoing support from the dollar, larger capital flows and a break through key levels," said Rand Market Bank currency strategist John Cairns in a note.

"The dominant issue in the rand outlook remains the dollar. Today’s event risk on this front comes from U.S. personal income and spending data this afternoon."

Locally, focus was on March trade data due at 1200 GMT.

Government bonds also strengthened, with the yield for the benchmark instrument due in 2026 falling 5.5 basis points to 8.990 percent.

On the bourse, the Top-40 fell 0.5 percent in early trade.

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