3 Min Read
* Rand falls on investor uncertainty
* Zuma recalls Gordhan from investor roadshow
* Stocks flat, gains curbed by banking sector (Updates figures, fresh quotes, gives background)
JOHANNESBURG, March 27 (Reuters) - South Africa's rand fell against the dollar on Monday after Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan was asked by President Jacob Zuma to return early from an investor roadshow abroad, sparking talk of an imminent cabinet reshuffle.
Stocks were mixed, with the banking sector under pressure after the news about Gordhan, who is widely respected in financial markets. Gold shares shot up, propelled by weakness in the spot price and the rand, which boosts local exporters.
At 1528 GMT, the rand was 2.74 percent weaker at 12.7675 per dollar, having closed at 12.4275 on Friday in New York.
The currency fell to 11-day lows before regaining some ground as talk of a cabinet reshuffle was revived after Gordhan was told to skip the U.S. leg of the investor roadshow.
"The currency, bond market as well as financial stocks here in South Africa have reacted negatively in anticipation that a cabinet shuffle is imminent. At the moment the rand moves are being driven purely on political speculation," said BNP Paribas Cadiz Securities economist Jeffrey Schultz.
In fixed income, government bonds weakened with the yield on 2026 benchmark up a hefty 34.5 basis points to 8.710 percent.
On the bourse, the benchmark Top-40 index was unchanged at 44,661 points while the All-Share index ticked down 0.18 percent to 51,725 points.
Banking sector shares fell 3.05 percent.
Among the biggest decliners on the top 40-index, FirstRand fell 3.55 percent to 50.59 rand, Standard Bank dropped 3.14 percent to 154.00 rand and Nedbank weakened 2.34 percent to 256.70 rand.
"It's worrisome for what's coming for the Treasury. They don't like uncertainty. The banks don't like that it's not bank friendly," said Independent Securities trader Ryan Woods.
Further losses were curbed by the gold index which rallied 5.79 percent, supported by bullion prices reaching 1-month highs on the back of a weak dollar.
Among top gainers on All-Share Index, Sibanye Gold leapt 9.35 percent to 30.16 rand, Harmony Gold gained 6.51 percent to 31.42 rand and Gold Fields rose 4.59 percent to 46.25 rand. (Reporting by Tanisha Heiberg and Olwethu Boso; Editing by Ed Stoddard and Hugh Lawson)