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JOHANNESBURG: South Africa's rand firmed on Wednesday as risk appetite improved after comments from the US Treasury Secretary suggesting progress in a trade deal with China, offsetting disappointment about the size of potential US interest rate cuts.

Stocks rose marginally but were held back as bullion shares came under pressure.

At 1510 GMT, the rand traded 0.57pc firmer at 14.2750 per dollar. Lack of local economic data or political news kept the currency in a narrow range.

"We are trading in the 10 cents range for the day. I think everybody is sitting on their hands waiting for the G20 summit," said Andre Botha, a senior currency dealer at TreasuryONE.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Wednesday that the United States and China were close to a trade deal, CNBC reported ahead of G20 meeting this week between presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping.

The rand extended gains made on Tuesday even after members of the Federal Reserve's policy committee tempered market bets on aggressive US rate cuts next month, with St. Louis Fed President James Bullard saying a 50-basis-point reduction "would be overdone."

The benchmark JSE Top-40 share Index rose 0.24pc to 52,407.30, while the broader All-Share Index ticked up 0.13pc to 58,421.72.

Curbing gains were bullion miners which fell 2.2pc on a lower spot gold price after the Fed signals.

Gold Fields fell 4.17pc to 76.71 rand and Sibanye-Stillwater closed down 2.14pc at 16.49 rand.

Technology giant and bourse heavyweight company Naspers  rose 1.5pc to 3,420.55 rand.

In fixed income, the yield on the benchmark government bond due in 2026, dipped 3 basis points to 8.14pc.

Copyright Reuters, 2019