JOHANNESBURG - The South African rand was little changed against the dollar on Friday, as local budget and trade data failed to offer much relief to investors in Africa's most industrialised economy.

At 1527 GMT, the rand traded at 18.2875 against the dollar, near its previous close of 18.2975.

The dollar was last up about 0.05% against a basket of currencies.

The March budget balance came in at a deficit of 46.15 billion rand while trade data showed a surplus of 6.89 billion rand.

Analysts polled by Reuters predicted a budget deficit of 30 billion rand and a trade surplus of 25 billion rand.

The country is being crippled by the worst rolling blackouts on record, contributing to bleak growth prospects.

South Africa marked Freedom Day on Thursday and with Monday another public holiday, many local traders will be away from their desks until next Tuesday.

Shares on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange rose marginally, with the broader all-share index closing up 0.12% and the blue-chip Top-40 index ending 0.07% higher.

The government's benchmark 2030 bond was stronger, with the yield down 2.5 basis points to 10.180%.

(Reporting by Tannur Anders and Bhargav Acharya; Editing by Anait Miridzhanian, Sonia Cheema and Jonathan Oatis)