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JOHANNESBURG - South Africa’s rand weakened more than 1% on Monday, succumbing to a resurgent dollar and some profit-taking after seven weeks of gains sparked by leadership changes in the ruling party and a rally in global commodity prices.

At 1510 GMT the rand was 0.90% weaker against the dollar, fetching 12.4150, after early falling more than 1.25%.

The rand has seen volatile trade in the first weeks of the new year after a stellar 2017 that saw it rack up gains of 11 percent against the greenback.

Persistent rumours that President Jacob Zuma could be forced to step down before his term ends in 2019 supported some short-term gains in the rand, but the rally stalled in the face of technical barriers and economic fundamentals.

The rand kicked-off trade on the back foot and fell further as U.S. traders came online and unleashed bear plays, offloading positions as the currency again failed to break through a 12.30 technical resistance level.

The 10-day moving average kicked-in at 12.4235, and with little on the political news front, price-trend confirmation and lower global commodity prices spurred sellers back into the dollar.

“The previous week continued to see minimal market participants, corporate flows and extremely thin liquidity,'” said Nedbank’s Reezwana Sumad in a note.

“Looking ahead at the coming weeks, the focus will shift to the upcoming first ANC meeting with Mr (Cyril) Ramaphosa at the helm, and rumours continue of current president Jacob Zuma possibly to be removed...”

Bonds traded firmer with a yield on the benchmark paper due in 2026 down 1.5 basis points at 8.55%.

Stocks rose in line with global peers but the rally could soon face technical resistance, with momentum indicators tracked by some analysts suggesting the main indices are approaching overbought levels.

The blue-chip JSE Top-40 index gained 0.55% to close at 51,131.70 while the wider All-share index added 0.54% to 60,038.39.