Gold producers drag SA stocks lower

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“What has happened now is that all the milling plants have been registered and all of them are now required to send their gold to Fidelity Refineries,”

JOHANNESBURG — South African stocks fell in thin trade on Friday as a weaker gold price dragged down bullion producers AngloGold Ashanti and Sibanye Gold.

Africa’s largest producer AngloGold Ashanti topped decliners on the benchmark Top-40 index, falling the most in three weeks to shed 3,2% to 98,41 rand.

The stock fell about 17% last year as the gold price was eroded. Smaller rival Sibanye Gold ended 3,6% lower on the day, though it jumped about 80% in 2014. Spot gold fell more than 1%, hit by a stronger dollar and falling oil markets.

Higher US interest rates — expected this year — weigh on non-interest-bearing bullion, while a stronger dollar makes gold more expensive for holders of foreign currencies.

The benchmark Top-40 index lost 0,62% to 43,696 while the broader All-share index fell 0,51% to 49,518.

The Top 40 advanced 6% last year compared to a 18% rise in 2013. Among Friday’s gainers was Kumba Iron Ore which rose almost 3% on a rally in iron ore prices.

Kumba, Africa’s largest producer of the steelmaking ingredient, shed almost half its value last year as iron ore prices tumbled.

—Reuters