JOHANNESBURG, Sept 8 South Africa's rand added
to its recent gains on Thursday, remaining near its firmest in
two weeks as an unexpected rise in Chinese imports lifted
emerging market assets and counterbalanced political uncertainty
weighing on the currency.
* Rand firmed 0.15 percent to 13.99975 per dollar
by 0650 GMT compared to close of 14.0190 overnight in New York.
* China imports rose for the first time in nearly two years
in August, buoying commodity-linked currencies.
* Mining and manufacturing figures due at 0930 GMT and 1100
GMT should to confirm economy recovering after Q2 GDP expansion
of 3.3 percent.
* Moves limited as investors look ahead to ECB policy
* Government's benchmark 2026 bond also firmer,
yield down 3.5 basis points to 8.585 percent.
* In stocks, blue chip futures index up 0.1 percent,
indicating bourse opening flat at 0700 GMT.
(Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana; Editing by Ed Cropley)