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UPDATE 1-South African rand hovers as markets U.S. inflation signals

(Updates prices, adds stocks)

JOHANNESBURG, June 24 (Reuters) - South Africa’s rand was flat on Thursday, with investors weighing conflicting signals from the U.S. Federal Reserve that pushed the dollar away from two-month highs.

At 1507 GMT, the rand traded at 14.2450 against the dollar, down just 0.07% from its previous close.

Global investors were left waiting for upcoming U.S. economic data for direction after conflicting signals on the timing of withdrawal of monetary stimulus in the country, with the dollar also vacillating on Thursday.

“For now, we can expect the rand to mostly track the dollar,” Andre Cilliers, a currency strategist at TreasuryONE, said.

The U.S. currency got some support overnight as two Fed officials said a period of high inflation in the United States could last longer than anticipated, a day after Fed Chair Jerome Powell had played down rising price pressures.

But it slipped on Thursday, paring back gains after hitting a two-month high last week.

Local investors also got further clues about inflationary pressures in Africa’s most industrialised economy, after Statistics South Africa also published data showing that producer price inflation quickened to 7.4% year-on-year in May, from 6.7% in April.

Data on Wednesday showed consumer inflation hit a 30-month high in May, but economists are not predicting the South African Reserve Bank will raise interest rates any time soon.

South African government bonds were also strengthened slightly, with the yield on the benchmark 2030 instrument dipping 6 basis points to 8.890.

Stocks were up, with the Johannesburg Stock Exchange’s Top-40 Index closing 0.71% higher at 60,118 points and the broader All-Share Index closing 0.67% higher at 66,263 points.

Insurer Old Mutual was the biggest winner on the blue-chip index, with its shares climbing over 8% after it announced it would further cut its stake in lender Nedbank , distributing $734 million worth of the bank’s stock among its own shareholders.

Its shares closed 6.12% higher. (Reporting by Emma Rumney; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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