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imageJOHANNESBURG: South Africa's rand firmed on Monday, shaking off a slight dip in sentiment towards emerging market currencies to resume a recent rally as the dollar stumbled ahead of the first debate between the two US presidential candidates.

By 1515 GMT the rand had gained 0.58 percent to 13.6400 per dollar, compared to a close at 13.7200 on Friday.

With no significant domestic data releases in the session, the rand looked offshore for direction and took advantage of investors' dollar jitters.

The rand touched a session best of 13.6200 and briefly looked poised to test resistance around 13.4000 before stalling as some invertors continued to cash-in on the recent rally.

Higher commodity prices also supported the local unit. Spot gold was up 0.3 percent.

Government bonds weakened, with the benchmark 2026 issue adding 6 basis points to 8.625 percent. Stocks fell in line with volatile global markets amid uncertainty and soured risk sentiment.

On the stock market, the benchmark Top-40 index fell 1.05 percent to 44,963 points, while the All-Share index dropped 1 percent to 51,479 points.

The biggest losers among blue-chips were pharmaceutical giant Aspen which fell 3.32 percent to 311.31 rand, gold miner AngloGold Ashanti which was down 2.35 percent to 221.75 rand, and South Africa-based investor Brait which slipped 2.85 percent to 109.57 rand.

Trading volumes were low, with 194 million shares changing hands compared with last year's daily average of 296 million.

Copyright Reuters, 2016