Rand firms on US growth concerns

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Rand money1111 .

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's rand firmed against the U.S. dollar on Monday as weak economic growth figures from the world's largest economy weighed on the greenback.

The market is expected to be quiet with a national holiday in South Africa on Tuesday.

The rand was trading at 7.7301 to the dollar at 0624 GMT, 0.13 percent firmer than Friday's close of 7.7401.

U.S. economic growth likely cooled modestly in the first quarter as replenishing of inventories by businesses slowed, though stronger demand for automobiles and a lift to homebuilding from warm weather blunted the blow.

“The poor U.S. GDP print is still weighing on the dollar,” said a Johannesburg rand trader.

“The dollar-rand should find support in the 7.72 and 7.70 area.”

In early data, credit growth in South Africa's private sector accelerated faster-than-expected to 9.16 percent year-on-year in March compared with a 7.92 percent rise in February, while money supply growth quickened to 6.65 percent year-on-year from 5.89 percent in February.

Government bond yields slid after the release of the data, with the 2015 bond falling 2.5 basis points to 6.45 percent and that on the longer dated 2026 note down two basis points to 8.16 percent.

The South African Revenue Service is due to release its trade statistics later on Monday. Economists expect to see the trade account narrow to a 4.25 billion rand ($548.39 million) deficit in March compared to a 7.5 billion rand deficit in February.

On the bourse, the JSE's blue-chip Top-40 June futures contract was up 0.71 percent before the 0700 GMT start of trade, pointing to a positive start. ($1 = 7.7500 South African rand) - Reuters

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