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JOHANNESBURG - South Africa’s rand steadied in early trade on Thursday as traders awaited April manufacturing data for evidence on the performance of the economy at the start of the second quarter after a surprising GDP contracting in the first quarter.

At 0632 GMT, the rand traded at 12.7250 per dollar, not far off its close of 12.7150 on Wednesday

Statistics South Africa will publish April manufacturing figures at 1100 GMT, with economists polled by Reuters expecting a one percent year-on-year increase after output fell in March.

Data on Tuesday showed first-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) shrank 2.2 percent, led by a slowdown in agriculture, mining and manufacturing

The yield for the benchmark government bond due in 2026 was up 2 basis points to 8.695 percent, reflecting weaker bond prices 

-REUTERS