JOHANNESBURG — South Africa’s rand fell against the dollar on Friday as weaker-than-expected Chinese trade data undermined the growth prospects of Africa’s biggest economy.
The rand was 0,75% weaker at 8,1323 against the dollar, after Wednesday’s New York close of 8.08.
Volumes are expected to be thin after a national holiday on Thursday.
China’s export and import growth came in well below expectations in July, weighed down by weakness in major trading partners and lower commodity prices.
South Africa relies heavily on China’s appetite for its resources.
Its economic growth slowed in the first quarter of 2012, hit by a sharp contraction in mining, and a further slowdown in resource-hungry China could hurt growth in subsequent quarters.
Economists surveyed by Reuters this month trimmed their 2012 growth forecasts to 2,5% from a previous projection of 2,8% due to economic contagion from the debt crisis in Europe and a slowdown in China.
“In all, the global environment is not very inspiring for the rand,” Rand Merchant Bank said in a note.
Government bond yields inched up one basis point to 5,615% for the three-year-bond and 7,39% for the 14-year paper.