File photo: Lucas Jackson

Johannesburg - South African stocks rose on Wednesday as mining shares such as BHP Billiton were lifted by positive production updates and data showing Chinese economic growth came in a touch above forecasts.

Shares of BHP Billiton rose 1.14 percent to 338.58 rand after the world's biggest diversified mining company on Wednesday lifted full-year iron ore production guidance by 5 million tonnes to 217 million as it pushes ahead with new mine work in Australia.

“The big guns have come out firing. We had some numbers out of Billiton and the market seems to like that,” said Paul Chakuduka of Global Trader.

Kumba Iron Ore rose 1.6 percent to 395.76 rand on the data from China, which grew 7.4 percent in the first quarter, from a year earlier, pipping forecasts of 7.3 percent and dashing speculation beforehand that growth would be nearer 7 percent after a string of recent soft numbers.

The Top-40 index climbed 0.78 percent to 43,242.25 while the broader All share index rose 0.73 percent to 48,139.69.

Preliminary bourse data showed advancers outpaced decliners 199 to 104, while 189 million shares exchanged hands.