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#RandReport: Rand & stocks gain, ending a volatile third quarter

The rand gained more than one percent to 13.8245 per dollar compared with Tuesday's close.

The currency recovered as emerging markets took advantage of limited action ahead of U.S. jobs figures due on Friday. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The rand firmed against the dollar as global markets rallied on Wednesday, ending the most bruising third quarter since 2011 punctuated by fears about China-led global economic slowdown.

Stocks also rose while government bonds were mixed.

By 1610 GMT the rand had gained more than one percent to 13.8245 per dollar compared with Tuesday's close.

The currency recovered as emerging markets took advantage of limited action ahead of U.S. jobs figures due on Friday.

The local currency faced some serious battering in the third quarter, falling 13.44 percent according to Reuters data, after bulls lost steam in risk-off trade.

The unit breached the pivotal 14.00 mark during the quarter to touch an all-time low of 14.16.

"Most of the weakness during the third quarter happened towards the end of August and this is when the markets started getting more concerned about China and the Fed possibly hiking rates in September," said Ricardo Da Camara a market analyst at ETM Analytics.

"Those factors combined pushed us into the weakest quarterly performance since Q3 2011."

Bets on when the US Federal Reserve will raise rates continued to oscillate after conflicting comments by influential members of the bank clouded market certainty of a 2015 rate lift-off.

Yields on government bonds fell across the curve, with the benchmark 2026 issue shedding 0.5 basis point to 8.455 percent.

On the bourse, the JSE Top-40 index was up 1.6 percent at 44,881 and the broader All-share index gained 1.43 percent to 50,088 rand.

Both indices, down about 2.5 percent for the quarter, posted their poorest quarterly performance since September last year after investors steadily offloaded shares on signs of a slowdown in China, the world's second-biggest economy.

"It's been an amazingly volatile quarter and now we are seeing a bit of a buying frenzy," said Nolan Macnamara, a trader at Nedbank Wealth.

"It's some guys trying to make their portfolios look a little bit rosier at the quarter because we haven't seen any change in the fundamentals."

Gainers on the bourse included insurer Discovery Holdings , up 3.8 percent at 137.66 rand, and takeover target SABMiller, up 2.6 percent at 780 rand.

Anheuser-Busch InBev ABI.BR, the world's largest brewer, has approached rival SABMiller SAB.L about a takeover that would form a colossus producing a third of the world's beer.

Trade was active with more than 279 million shares changing hands, well above last year's daily average of 183 million shares.