(Adds latest prices, analyst comment)
JOHANNESBURG, Oct 21 (Reuters) - South Africa's rand rallied to its firmest in more than a month on Wednesday as risk-taking globally was further boosted by hopes of a breakthrough in stimulus talks in the United States.
At 1515 GMT the rand ZAR=D3 was 1.09% firmer at 16.3050 per dollar from an opening level of 16.4750. The unit touched a session-best of 16.2575, its best level since Sept. 17, bringing gains since last Wednesday to nearly 3%.
"Movements are more a matter of dollar weakness rather than rand strength as markets look to the prospect of U.S. stimulus for short-term guidance. Around $2 trillion in COVID-19 relief funds now seem more a matter of 'when' rather than 'if'," said Shaun Murison, senior analyst at IG Markets.
The White House and Democrats in the U.S. Congress edged closer to agreement on a new coronavirus-related relief package on Tuesday with President Donald Trump saying he was willing to accept a large aid bill despite opposition within his own Republican Party. main index of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange slipped sharply after opening but gained all the lost ground to close in the green as hopes of the U.S. economic aid package and higher commodity prices gave strength.
The benchmark all-share index .JALSH was marginally up by 0.13% to 55,345 points, while the blue chip top 40 companies index .JTOPI closed up 0.11% to 50,905 points.
Banks and gold mining companies lent support to the indices with the bank index .JBANK closing up 3.3% and the gold mining index .JGLDX 2.5% on a boost to gold prices.
Diversified miner Sibanye Stillwater Ltd SSWJ.J was the biggest gainer and ended the day up over 10%.
Bonds were slightly weaker, with the yield on the benchmark 2030 government issue ZAR2030= up 1 basis point to 9.295%.
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