Graphic: renjith krishnan

The rand remained softer at noon on Friday but off the session’s worst level after China’s disappointing trade balance data re-ignited market concerns about the strength of the world’s second biggest economy.

At 11.47am local time the rand was bid at R8.1408 to the dollar from Thursday’s close of R8.0793. It was bid at R9.9813 to the euro from its previous close of R9.9415 and at R12.6981 against sterling from R12.6290 before.

The euro was bid at US$1.2270 from $1.2303.

China's trade surplus in July came in narrower than expected at US$25.1bn from $31.7bn in June‚ falling short of a median $35.2bn forecast by economists in a Dow Jones Newswires survey. Exports rose 1.0% in July from a year earlier‚ worse than June's 11.3% rise and below economists' median forecast of a 8.0% expansion. Imports rose 4.7% from a year earlier‚ down from the 6.3% rise in June.

“The (China’s) trade data has put pressure on risky assets. Commodity-based currencies such as the rand will struggle to strengthen given signs of anaemic economic growth in that country‚” said Mike Keenan‚ sub-Saharan currency strategist at Absa Capital. - I-Net Bridge