December 6, 2017 / 7:03 AM / in a year

South Africa's rand retreats as sellers return to take profits

JOHANNESBURG, Dec 6 (Reuters) - South Africa’s rand weakened on Wednesday, giving back gains made after a larger-than-expected expansion in third-quarter GDP as investors took some profits on the recent rally.

* At 0630 GMT the rand was 0.43 percent weaker at 13.4950 per dollar, compared to a close of 13.4375 overnight in New York.

* The rand has gained on investor bets of a victory by the current Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa at the ruling African National Congress’s leadership conference next week where President Jacob Zuma’s successor will be crowned.

* The currency firmed in the previous session after the economy expanded by a surprise 2 percent quarter-on-quarter, but failed to breach the 13.40 technical resistance mark.

* With only November business confidence data due, rand moves seen linked to offshore events and moves in the euro and the greenback.

* Bonds were firmer, with the yield on the benchmark government paper due in 2026 down 3 basis points to 9.145 percent.

* Stocks were set to open lower at 0700 GMT, with the JSE securities exchange’s benchmark Top-40 futures index down 0.9 percent. * Market focus zooms in on Steinhoff following the shock overnight resignation of CEO Markus Jooste over a European regulator investigation into accounting irregularities. (Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri)

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