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JOHANNESBURG: South Africa's rand weakened on Tuesday, with traders sceptical about comments by President Donald Trump expressing hope for a possible US-Chinese trade deal just days after the two countries raised tariffs against each other.

South African stocks ended slightly higher.

At 1555 GMT the rand was 0.31% weaker at 15.3300 per dollar.

The rand strengthened earlier in the session on improved risk appetite, after Trump said on Monday Chinese officials had contacted US trade counterparts overnight and offered to return to the negotiating table.

However, doubts crept in after a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said he was unaware that a phone call had taken place.

Investors were wary about the next bout of volatility and a potential emerging market-wide selloff.

"We continue to believe that the rand will remain volatile, and have revised down the expected case forecast for a somewhat more depreciated level as global trade tensions have worsened, and show little chance of resolving in the near term," said chief economist at Investec Annabel Bishop in a note.

In equities, the broader All-Share index was up 0.16% to 53,896 points, while the benchmark Top-40 index gained 0.22% to 48,148 points.

Shares in Imperial Logistics Ltd gained 8.9% to 51.86 rand, after the firm said it expects to wind up its loss-making consumer packaged-goods (CPG) business in South Africa by the end of September and is also considering disposing of its shipping unit in Europe as it overhauls its operations.

Bonds firmed, with the yield on the benchmark government paper due in 2026 falling 4.5 basis points to 8.22%.

Copyright Reuters, 2019