Gold producers drag SA stocks lower

“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.