(Updates to reflect afternoon trade)
JOHANNESBURG, May 5 (Reuters) - The South African rand gained on Wednesday afternoon, as the U.S. dollar eased off a more than two-week high hit earlier in the day and local media reported that the governing party had suspended one of its top officials, Ace Magashule.
At 1656 GMT the rand ZAR=D3 traded at 14.3700 against the dollar, 0.6% stronger than its previous close.
The dollar .DXY slipped back after some softer-than-expected U.S. economic data that prompted traders to consolidate positions ahead of a jobs report due at the end of the week. that the African National Congress had suspended corruption-charged Magashule supported the rand, as the move is seen as a sign of President Cyril Ramaphosa's growing control over his divided party. Magashule denies wrongdoing. attention will soon turn to a scheduled review of South Africa's sovereign credit by Moody's on Friday. The rating agency already assigns a "junk" status to the country, but with a negative outlook there is the potential for a further downgrade.
Government bonds were little changed on Wednesday, with the yield on the instrument due in 2030 ZAR2030= down 1 basis point at 9.11%.
Johannesburg-listed shares strengthened alongside global equities. gainers, mobile operator MTN Group MTNJ.J closed 11.53% stronger after posting a near 18% jump in first-quarter revenue. Johannesburg Stock Exchange's All-share index .JALSH closed up 1.77% at 67,346 points, and the blue-chip index .JTOPI rose 1.92% to 61,536 points.
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