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JOHANNESBURG - The rand firmed by more than 1% against the dollar for a second consecutive session yesterday boosted by a lull in local politics and some importers stepping in to buy the currency before the rally fades.

Stocks inched higher, led by hotel group Sun International and clothes retailer Truworths.

At 5pm, the rand bid at R13.5759 to the dollar, 4.88c firmer than at the same time on Tuesday, a touch short of the session and week-and-a half best of R13.51, with cooling hopes of tax reforms in the US allowing the rand to remain on the front foot.

The rand has clawed back more than 2% in value against the greenback since tumbling to its worst level in six months on Friday. Analysts say the recovery was driven as much by the dollar’s decline as by short-covering by bearish investors and strong demand for bonds.

Yields on government bonds ticked up to near the 9% mark that has lured investors seeking high returns. The yield on the benchmark 2026 issue added 3 basis points to 8.7%.

On the bourse, the main indices ended marginally higher, with the blue chip index 0.15% higher at 51438.55 points and the broader all share index climbing 0.24% to 57770.73 points.

Banking shares helped the blue chip index higher, with Nedbank rising 2.1% to end the session at R212.90.

On the all share, Sun International was up 4.11% to R52.68 and Truworths advanced 2.78% to R76.95.

Gains have also been capped by technical factors, with momentum indicators tracked by analysts suggesting the indices have strayed into overbought territory.

-BUSINESS REPORT