* Rand weakens
* Stocks mostly unchanged (Updates prices)
JOHANNESBURG, Nov 20 (Reuters) - South Africa's rand weakened on Wednesday, reflecting gains by the dollar, while stocks tread water as worsening U.S.-China relations fuelled demand, weakening demand for riskier assets and weighing on world markets.
At 1447 GMT the rand ZAR=D3 was 0.27% weaker at xxx per dollar.
Markets were in "a tentative risk-off mood as overnight developments cast a shadow over relations between China and the U.S.," said Andre Botha, a senior dealer at TreasuryONE.
The U.S. Senate on Tuesday approved bills aimed at protecting human rights in Hong Kong, drawing a sharp rebuke from China and casting doubt on a thaw in tensions between the two superpowers. focus now turns to the South African Reserve Bank interest rates decision on Thursday. The bank is expected to leave rates on hold at 6.5%, even though Wednesday's data showed South African consumer inflation dropped in October to its lowest in eight years, increasing the chances of a rate cut. the stock market, the Top-40 .JTOPI index dipped 0.17% to 50,972 points and broader all-share .JALSH was 0.36% lower at 57,168 points.
"Stories around this trade deal are still up in the air. It's uncertainty which the markets don't like," said Independent Securities trader Ryan Woods.
Among the stocks that fell, FirstRand FSRJ.J closed down 1.53% to 67.50 rand after falling more than 4% early Wednesday after its top investor, RMB Holdings (JO: RMHJ ) (RMH), announced plans to distribute its roughly 130 billion rand ($8.8 billion) stake in the bank to its shareholders. further losses, Lewis Group Ltd LEWJ.J rose 12.27% to 34.22 rand after it reported a rise in half-year revenue, driven by strong sales growth in the first quarter. on benchmark bonds due in 2026 ZAR186= fell 5.5 basis points to 8.315%.
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