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Risk-Sensitive Rand Gains, Global Interest Rates seen Peaking

JOHANNESBURG, July 28 (Reuters) - The South African rand posted strong gains on Friday afternoon, on buoyant risk appetite whetted by the prospect that global interest rates could be nearing their peak.

At 1510 GMT the rand was trading at 17.6250 against the dollar , about 1.2% stronger than its previous close after earlier trading up as much as 1.5%.

"With major central banks expected to end their rate hikes and the global economy remaining resilient, the rand could be set for further gains ahead," said Lloyd Miller, co-head of financial markets at ETM Analytics.

"South African bonds are trading at attractive levels to foreigners and as inflows into the bond market improve, the rand will continue to strengthen."

The U.S. Federal Reserve raised rates as expected on Wednesday, but some investors expect that to be the last increase in its hiking cycle. The South African Reserve Bank kept rates on hold last week after 10 hikes in a row.

Also supporting the rand on Friday was a weaker dollar on global markets and data showing South Africa recorded a budget surplus in June.

The rand has gained more than 6% against the greenback this month, with analysts citing foreign buying of government bonds and a commitment by Chinese policymakers to support their economy among drivers.

On the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), the blue-chip Top-40 index closed up about 0.3%. South Africa's benchmark 2030 government bond firmed on Friday, as the yield fell 3 basis points to 10.185%.

Reporting by Tannur Anders Editing by Alexander Winning

Source: Reuters

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