South African stocks lifted by miners as rates decision awaited

By Adelaide Changole

South Africa’s main stock index rises 0.5% as of 9:49 a.m. in Johannesburg, with miners contributing heavily to gains as investors seek to look past the latest tensions between Beijing and Washington. Banks are weaker before a central interest rates decision later Thursday.

A survey of 16 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg expect the South African Reserve Bank to cut the repurchase rate by 25 basis points.

“We are expecting the SARB to cut interest rates by another 25bps today in an effort to support the ailing economy, while the US will release initial jobless claims this afternoon,” Bianca Botes, executive director at Peregrine Treasury Solutions, says in an emailed note.

The U.S. issued an unexpected order Wednesday to close the Chinese consulate in Houston, ratcheting up tensions that have been simmering between the world’s two biggest economies.

The gauge of mining stocks advances as rising gold prices lift gold producers, and as iron ore miners rally.

Anglo American Plc +1.7%, Gold Fields Ltd. +2.6%, AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. +1.8%, Sibanye Stillwater Ltd. +2.1%, BHP Group Plc +0.2%, Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. +1.6%, Harmony Gold Mining Co. +2.8%, Northam Platinum Ltd. +2.1%

Index heavyweight Naspers Ltd. rises 1.1% to provide biggest boost to the index, as partly owned tech giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. advances in Hong Kong.

Naspers subsidiary Prosus NV, which holds the company’s 31% stake in Tencent, rises 1.4%

Index of bank stocks weakens ahead of the rate decision:

FirstRand Ltd. +0.6%, Standard Bank Group Ltd. +0.7%, Capitec Bank Holdings Ltd. +1.6%, Absa +1%, Investec Plc +1.2%, Nedbank group Ltd. +0.6%

Inflation dropped below the 3% bottom of the central bank’s target range in May, creating room for the monetary policy committee to lower its benchmark interest rate even further on Thursday

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Sasol Ltd. falls 2.5%, providing biggest drag on the index after company released its full-year production and sales metrics for the year to June, and said it would be delaying operations at its Lake Charles Chemical Project by one month.

Vodacom Group Ltd. falls 1.3% after a trading update

Foreigners were net sellers of South African stocks Wednesday, disposing of 651 million rand worth of shares, according to bourse operator, JSE Ltd.

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