FIRST-HALF earnings at Royal Bafokeng Platinum (RBPlat) rose by a third, the group said yesterday. This was as currency weakness lifted the rand price of the platinum group metals it produces. The mid-tier producer, which was unaffected by a five-month strike in the industry this year, said headline earnings a share for the six months to June rose 33 percent to R1.16. RBPlat said the platinum market was forecast to swing into a deficit this year after the protests at Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum and Lonmin. But it said prices were unlikely to accelerate from current levels, as weak jewellery demand acted as a counter-balance to an expected rise in car sales. Shares in RBPlat added 1.31 percent to R74.24 on the JSE yesterday. – Reuters