June 28, 2019 / 4:56 PM / 18 days ago

UPDATE 1-S.African rand lifted by improved economic data, dollar dip

(Updates throughout)

JOHANNESBURG, June 28 (Reuters) - South Africa’s rand gained on Friday, helped by improved economic data and a dip in the U.S. dollar, ahead of an eagerly awaited meeting between the United States and China at the G20 summit in Japan.

At 1643 GMT the rand was 0.4% firmer against the dollar at 14.1100 after earlier in the day touching its strongest level since April 22.

The currency was on course for gains of more than 3% this month.

Better budget and trade data released on Friday helped underpin sentiment for South African assets, as did U.S. economic data confirming the likelihood of a July interest rate cut.

Hopes that the United States and China will agree a truce in their tariff war at the G20 summit this weekend have helped demand for emerging market currencies like the rand in the last few days.

On the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, the benchmark Top 40 Index ended up 0.27% at 52,198 points, while the broader All-Share Index closed up 0.24% at 58,203.

But some investors were cautious about the anticipated G20 meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and China’s Xi Jinping.

“We know Trump is a volatile character, and absolutely anything can come out of that (meeting). I think it will be a market-moving event and that will only reflect on Monday,” said Mark Loubser, a fund manager at Independent Securities.

Johannesburg-listed mining stocks gained as gold prices rose on uncertainty over the U.S.-China trade dispute.

South African government bonds were a touch stronger, with the yield on the benchmark 2026 bond dropping 2 basis points to 8.095%. (Reporting by Naledi Mashishi and Alexander Winning; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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