South African stocks tumbled to an almost two-week low on Wednesday, dragged down by miners as metal prices such as gold and copper skidded.
BHP Billiton topped the decliners’ list on the blue chip Top-40 index, falling 4.5% to R229.31, after the bourse heavyweight flagged $650 million writedown hit to its full-year underlying profit.
Gold miners were also under pressure with AngloGold Ashanti ending 2.59% lower at R84.08 after the gold price fell back towards a five-year low.
A looming rise in US interest rates has dented gold’s investment appeal, encouraging more sellers in the market after Monday’s 3% rout.
“For now it’s a perfect storm for gold. Interest rates are low and are going to rise and unfortunately people are just selling off the metal and getting into other stuff,” said Nick Kunze, chief executive officer at Consilium Securities.
A fall in oil prices on unexpected rise in US crude stocks sent shares in South Africa’s Sasol, which makes fuel from coal but sells it at same price as companies that import and refine crude, down 1.85% to R426.95.
Among the gainers Advtech, private education firm, ended 5.17% up to R12.20 after its top two shareholders said they will accept rival Curro Holding’s $485 million takeover offer, which could be resubmitted.
The JSE Top-40 index fell 1.87% to 46,370 points and the broader All-Share Index was down 1.75% at 51,977.
Overall, trading volumes were lively with more than 237 million shares changing hands, above last year’s daily average of 183 million.