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South Africa's rand, bonds on back foot on fears of Gordhan exit

JOHANNESBURG, March 29 South Africa's rand and government bonds were on the back foot early on Wednesday over speculation of an imminent cabinet shake-up that could see Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan removed.

* Gordhan abandoned an investor roadshow and flew home on Tuesday on the orders of President Jacob Zuma, triggering speculation about his future.

* Gordhan's recall rattled investors who see him as a focus of stability and is widely respected in financial markets.

* At 0645 GMT, the rand traded at 13.0475 per dollar, 0.48 percent weaker from its New York close on Tuesday.

* In fixed income, the yield for the benchmark government bond due in 2026 rose 11.5 basis points to 8.855 percent.

* Stocks were set to open higher at 0700 GMT, with the JSE securities exchange's Top-40 futures index up 0.49 percent. (Reporting by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo; Editing by Alison Williams)

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