Johannesburg - South Africa's rand was firmer against the dollar on Thursday, taking advantage of a weaker US currency pummelled by data indicating the world's largest economy shrank by close to 3 percent in the first quarter.

The end to a five-month platinum strike also helped to lift the local unit for the second straight session as it pushes towards the 10.55 support level it touched briefly on Wednesday.

The rand traded at 10.57 per dollar at 08:46 SA time against the dollar, up 0.21 percent after closing at 10.59 in New York.

“US GDP data has shocked,” said John Cairns of Rand Merchant Bank in a morning market note.

The rand is expected to find support from delays to the end of the US Federal Reserve's quantitative easing, which would lead to cut-backs in emerging market investment.

Government bond yields were firm, with the yield for the bond maturing next year slipping 3 basis points to 6.665 percent, while the 2026 issue was down 3.55 basis points to 8.300 percent. - Reuters