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Africa, Forex

South Africa’s rand gains as dollar retreats, gold rallies

(Updates rand to reflect afternoon trade, adds stocks)

JOHANNESBURG, Oct 13 (Reuters) – The South African rand posted strong gains on Wednesday as the dollar retreated, gold prices rallied and local bonds advanced.

At 1530 GMT, the rand traded at 14.8275 against the dollar, around 1% firmer than its previous close.

The dollar struck a one-year high on Tuesday on rising expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve will announce a tapering of its stimulus next month, but it dropped over 0.3% against a basket of currencies on Wednesday.

That helped lift prices of precious metals like gold and platinum, key South African exports, before minutes of the Fed’s latest policy meeting were due to be released later in the session.

A decline in U.S. Treasury yields supported appetite for South Africa’s local government debt, with the yield on the benchmark 2030 bond falling 16 basis points to 9.38%.

Markets shrugged off disappointing domestic retail data that showed sales fell 1.3% year on year in August, whereas economists had forecast a rise of 2.6%.

Stocks were flat, with the Johannesburg Stock Exchange’s Top-40 Index rising 0.03% to 59,517 points and the broader All-Share Index up 0.04% to 66,013 points.

Precious metals miners were among the best performers of the day. Anglo American Platinum was the biggest winner on the blue-chip index, rising 3.34%, followed by AngloGold Ashanti and Gold Fields, up 3.16% and 2.81% respectively.

(Reporting by Alexander Winning and Emma Rumney, Editing by William Maclean)

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