* Rand firms slightly in volatile trade
* Iron ore producers hit hardest (Adds closing prices, detail, analyst)
JOHANNESBURG, April 18 (Reuters) - South African stocks slid on Tuesday, dragged down by resources companies, while the rand firmed slightly amid lingering political uncertainty.
Iron ore producers were among the biggest losers after iron ore futures in China fell more than 6 percent on Tuesday to their weakest level since January, pressured by a sustained drop in steel prices on concerns about oversupply. Rainbow Minerals ARIJ.J tumbled by 10.7 percent to 85 rand, Assore Limited ASRJ.J dropped 9.4 percent to 221 rand and Kumba Iron Ore KIOJ.J was down 8.9 percent at 170.04 rand.
Nedbank NEDJ.J , the largest investor in Nigeria's Ecobank, fell 3.5 percent to 224.56 rand after it flagged the pan-African lender's fourth-quarter losses. Ecobank reported a loss for 2016 blaming a recession in Nigeria and a strong U.S. dollar. Pharmacare APNJ.J , Africa's largest generic drugmaker, dropped 4.1 percent after a report in Britain's Times newspaper accused the company of withholding drugs to try to drive up prices in European markets. benchmark Top-40 .JTOPI index ended 1.65 percent down at 45,873 points, while the broader All-share index .JALSH lost 1.57 percent to 52,672 points.
On the currency market, the rand firmed slightly in volatile trade as political uncertainty lingers. Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Monday that leaders should listen to protesters who have taken to the streets demanding that President Jacob Zuma leaves office. early trading on Tuesday, the rand ZAR=D3 reached 13.2400 against the dollar, its strongest since March 30. By the close the currency was up 0.08 percent at 13.2800.
"What we have here is a currency that is undervalued. Whenever there's good news an undervalued currency will appreciate. The president is seen to be on the backfoot with all these marches," said Efficient Group's chief economist, Dawie Roodt.
In fixed income, the yield for the benchmark government bond due in 2026 ZAR186= fell 0.5 basis point to 8.83 percent.
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