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#RandReport: Rand volatile ahead of US Fed minutes, stocks fall

Govt bonds retreated, with the benchmark paper due inn 2026 adding 4,5 basis points to 8,22 percent.

Stocks rose, with resources' gains capped by losses in financials. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The rand firmed on Thursday after a weak start, stretching gains to nearly three percent this week as global monetary policy looked likely to remain accommodative for longer than expected.

Stocks rose, with resources' gains capped by losses in financials.

Government bonds retreated, with the benchmark paper due inn 2026 adding 4,5 basis points to 8,22 percent.

By 1530 GMT the rand had gained 0,65 percent to 13,3880 per dollar and appeared destined to hold on to gains beyond its technical resistance level of around 13,50 after minutes from European central banks indicated a low interests rate environment would remain in place.

Minutes on Thursday from a Bank of England's rate-setting committee suggested policymakers were in no hurry to raise interest rates, while European Central Bank minutes showed the bank was concerned about China-fuelled slowdown in emerging markets led by.

"It seems like most economists are leaning towards a rate hike in the US in around the Q1 of 2016. But if the results of the Fed minutes today are more hawkish than anticipated, we might see a bit of a selloff," said Ricardo Da Camara, an analyst at ETM Analytics.

Federal Reserve minutes from the September meeting are due later on Thursday.

On the bourse, Africa's biggest bullion producer AngloGold Ashanti, was the Top-40 index's top performer, up 3,18 percent to 122,78 rand. Peers Sibanye Gold and Harmony Gold, no longer considered blue chips, also rallied.

"The gold shares can be notoriously volatile so not too surprising to see some buying interest in them," Ferdi Heyneke, a portfolio manager at Afrifocus Securities said.

Shares in Sibanye extended Wednesday's gains when it announced a bid for Aquarius Platinum, climbing 3,06 percent to 19,19 rand.

Shares in South Africa's largest banking group FirstRand fell the most among the bluechips, shedding 2,84 percent to 49,65 rand. Barclays Africa Group and Standard Bank also closed in the red.

"Maybe some profit-taking after a bit of a rally in the last couple of days," said Heyneke.

The benchmark JSE Top-40 index rose 0,28 percent to 47,293 points while the broader All-share index was up 0,31 to 52,727 points.