The rand was subdued around the R7.90 per dollar level in early trade on Friday as weaker Chinese growth data restrained the euro.
At 08:25 local time, the rand was bid at R7.9021 to the dollar from its previous close of R7.8742. It was bid at R10.4040 to the euro from R10.3804 before, and at R12.5922 against sterling from R12.5597 previously.
Gold was trading at U$1673.20 per ounce.
The euro was bid at US$1.3166 from its Thursday close of $1.3182.
Standard Bank analysts noted in a morning report that after a brief return in risk appetite yesterday on resurging hopes for further quantitative easing from central banks, weaker than expected growth out of China restrained the rand's recent appreciation.
"Along with most other commodity currencies, it has retreated this morning," they said.
"China's growth slowed to 8.1 percent y/y against a consensus forecast of 8.4 percent. The hangover from this morning's data is likely to weigh on the rand ahead of the weekend, with the bias stacked towards further weakness - unless the slew of speakers (including the Fed's Bernanke, ECB Knot and BoE Haldane) reinforces expectations of additional stimulus," they said.
Barclays Capital analysts said they expect the rand to weaken initially in response to the data, but they are not excessively rand bearish over the medium term because they still argue that China is likely to experience a soft landing.
Meanwhile Dow Jones Newswires reported that the euro briefly fell against the dollar and yen following weaker-than-expected China GDP data during Asian trading Friday, though losses were limited as dovish comments from U.S. Federal Reserve officials helped support risk appetite.
While analysts said the results were not too bad, disappointed market participants who expected stronger figures sold the Australian dollar, which also undermined the euro. The results also fueled speculation that China may engage in more monetary easing to reduce the risk of a potential hard landing for its economy.
"The figures do raise concerns of a slowdown in China's economy, but it wasn't so bad as to disappoint the markets, especially if you look at other figures," said Masashi Murata, senior currency strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman in Tokyo, citing a rise of 15.2 percent in retail sales and 11.9 percent in industrial output in March from a year earlier.
Buying sentiment for the dollar has been weaker following comments from Fed vice chair Janet Yellen and New York Fed president William Dudley indicating that interest rates will remain low through 2014, and the possibility of a third round of U.S. quantitative easing if the economy falters. Unexpectedly weak U.S. labor data Thursday also pressured the greenback.