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imageJOHANNESBURG: South African government bonds fell sharply and the rand reached its weakest in more than six weeks against the dollar on Monday as the greenback rose on expectations that US interest rates would rise soon.

By 1236 GMT, the rand weakened 1.19 percent against the dollar to 14.5400, off Friday's close at 14.3690 and softest since July 15.

Against a basket of major currencies, the dollar hit its highest in nearly two weeks at 95.724 after senior Federal Reserve officials bolstered expectations that US interest rates would rise soon.

Traders also said the rand was weighed down by lingering uncertainty over whether Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan faces arrest following an investigation by the elite police unit Hawks over a surveillance unit set up in the revenue service when he was in charge.

"The dollar is quite strong on global markets so that's not helping the rand's cause at all," said Bidvest Bank chief dealer, Ion de Vleeschauwer.

"The predominant factor remains the political shambles with our finance minister and the Hawks. As long as that is around, the rand has very little potential to strengthen."

Separately, the central bank said it will not respond to short term market volatility triggered by news of possible charges against Gordhan, Deputy Governor Daniel Mminele said.

Government bonds yields rose across the curve, 2026 benchmark added 14.5 basis points to 9.110 percent, highest in nine weeks.

On the stock market, the benchmark Top-40 index rose 0.19 percent to 46,894 points while the All-Share index inched up 0.07 percent to 53,539 points.

Copyright Reuters, 2016