The rand was stuck in ranges in Monday afternoon trade despite SA's trade deficit of R5.5 billion for its trade with non-Southern African Customs Union trading partners in March.
The rand remained firm throughout the day before the trade data was released by SARS. Its performance was said to be flat by analysts who also anticipated little movement of the local currency until the outcome of the European Central Bank (ECB) meeting later this week.
The ECB is meeting on Thursday in Barcelona and media reports say it may refuse any more easy money for governments as the political resolve to rein in deficits shows signs of crumbling in that region.
Since the ECB's last meeting in April, there has been resurgence in the eurozone sovereign debt crisis.
"It has been a very quiet afternoon. The rand had been trading in ranges ahead of the holiday. I don't see much happening to the local currency until Thursday," said a local rand trader.
At 15:37 local time the rand was bid at R7.7336 to the dollar from its previous close of R7.7340. It was bid at R10.2276 to the euro from R10.2559 before, and at R12.5608 against sterling from R12.6011 previously.
The euro was bid at US$1.3224 from its previous close of $1.3239.
Absa Capital in their morning report said they expected the rand to remain stable throughout afternoon trade.
"We would expect the ZAR to remain well bid so long as risk appetite doesn't stall, but we are mindful that ZAR bulls have repeatedly struggled to breach R7.73 to the downside. Given that tomorrow is also a public holiday in SA, we expect trade volumes to remain relatively light today and look for the ZAR to consolidate Friday's gains," said Absa.
Absa added that there were some encouraging improvements in consumption and residential investment, which reinforced its view that the US recovery was still on track and that it remained unlikely that additional stimulus programmes would be required from the Fed.
"The USD weakened in the wake of the GDP data, but Wall Street rallied and US Treasury yields were largely unchanged, which suggests that market participants also appear to be relatively sanguine about the US growth outlook, which, in turn, is supportive of a risk-on environment. ZAR bulls and risky assets in general also appeared to brush aside Friday's downgrade of Spain, by S&P," the bank said.
Absa, however, warned that rand dealers would be mindful of trade data to be released later in the day.
Dow Jones Newswires reported that the Irish Deputy Prime Minister Eamon Gilmore, leader of Ireland's junior coalition party, said on Monday that the country will not need a second bailout from the European Union, International Monetary Fund and ECB, as it builds trust with financial markets by meeting the targets of its existing programme.
Gilmore was talking to reporters as he launched his Labour Party's campaign to persuade voters to support the EU fiscal compact in a public referendum on May 31.
Ireland is the only one out of the 25 countries participating in the new fiscal union - the UK and the Czech Republic are staying on the sidelines - whose constitution requires the public agreeing to the treaty in a referendum. And voters could use this opportunity to kick out at the austerity entailed by the EU and IMF bailout, political analysts have said.
The new fiscal union will go ahead if 12 of the 17 members of the eurozone bloc endorse it, and, therefore, Ireland does not have a veto over the compact, analysts have said.
Tuesday is a public holiday (Worker's Day) in SA.
Bonds flat as data fails to inspire
Bonds remained flat in late afternoon trade on Monday in what turned out to be a tepid session at best owing to many players taking the day off to enjoy a five-day break with Friday having been a public holiday and Tuesday also being one.
At 15:10, the benchmark R157 bond was at 6.460 percent from its previous close of 6.460 percent. The R207 was bid at 7.565 percent and offered at 7.540 percent from a previous close of 7.560 percent and the R186 was offered at 8.170 percent from its close of 8.165 percent.