(Adds policymakers' comments, stocks)
JOHANNESBURG, Sept 7 South Africa's rand
retreated against the dollar after the previous day's strong
gains, with Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan hinting that
political uncertainty could undermine growth this year.
Stocks failed to get a lift from a global equities rally,
with disappointing results hobbling some companies.
By 1618 GMT, the rand was at 14.0530 to the dollar,
down 0.6 percent from Tuesday's close at 13.9745.
The local unit had climbed nearly 3 percent versus the
greenback in Tuesday's trade, after official data showed the
economy grew by 3.3 percent in the second quarter, averting a
recession after contracting in the first three months of the
The rand has however still not recouped all the losses
incurred during a heavy sell-off triggered from Aug. 23 by
speculation that Gordhan could be charged over the activities of
a surveillance unit set up under his watch.
In an apparent reference to the probe, and rising investor
fears of undue political interference in the operations of the
Treasury, Gordhan told parliament that "the nonsense that is
going on in respect of the Treasury or myself is not to the
benefit of this country".
On the stock exchange, retail group Steinhoff's
Johannesburg shares fell 6.25 percent to 81.90 rand after it
reported a 3 percent decline in earnings per share.
The benchmark Top-40 index fell 0.49 percent to
46,777 while the wider All-share index shed 0.42
percent to 53,456.
This was in spite of world stocks hitting their highest in
more than a year.
"The market has had a good move up but it's just getting no
underlying strength coming through," said BP Bernstein trader
Around 245 million shares changed hands, below last year's
daily average of 296 million, preliminary bourse data showed.
Government bonds fared better than the rand and stocks on
Wednesday, with the yield for paper due in 10 years
falling 11.5 basis points to 8.61 percent.
(Reporting by Stella Mapenzauswa, Tanisha Heiberg and Ed
Stoddard; Editing by Alison Williams)