South African rand firms against dollar; stocks edge up

(Updates prices to reflect afternoon trade)

Oct 3 (Reuters) - South Africa's rand firmed on Monday as the U.S. dollar traded lower due to moderating interest rate hike expectations.

At 1511 GMT, the rand ZAR=D3 traded at 17.8200 against the dollar, 1.41% stronger than its previous close.

The dollar index =USD , which measures the currency against six rivals, was last down 0.597% at 111.560.

Stocks on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) closed slightly higher, mostly due to gains in the mining index .JRESI .

The benchmark all-share .JALSH and the Top-40 .JTOPI indexes both rose around 0.8%.

New vehicle sales ZAVEHY=ECI rose 10.8% year-on-year in September, data showed on Monday, while separately the Absa Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) contracted as extensive power cuts weighed on production and new sales orders declined during the month.

The government's benchmark 2030 bond ZAR2030= was stronger in afternoon deals, with the yield down 21 basis points to 10.680%.
Reporting by Bhargav Acharya in Bengaluru and Anait Miridzhanian in Johannesburg; editing by Jason Neely and Jonathan Oatis

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