Harmony Gold - Operations Phakisa mine.Photo Supplied

Johannesburg - South African gold miners, the world’s highest-cost major producers, surged in Johannesburg as the rand plunged against the dollar after President Jacob Zuma fired his finance minister.

Harmony Gold Mining advanced as much as 25 percent, the most in 16 years, while Gold Fields and AngloGold Ashanti climbed more than 9 percent and Sibanye Gold Mining gained 5.7 percent.

The rand reached a record low against the dollar on Wednesday and is down 23 percent this year. That benefits South African companies because they get their revenues from gold sales in the US currency, while their costs are in rand. Zuma fired Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene yesterday after just 19 months and replaced him with a little-known lawmaker.

“The producers are now strongly levered to movements in emerging-market gold prices,” Andrew Byrne, a London-based analyst at Barclays, wrote in a note Thursday. “With leaner corporate structures, we expect this to translate into cash generation of either deleveraging or a return of dividends.”

Gold climbed to a record R16 389.66 an ounce on Wednesday and traded at R16 198.22 by 12:32 p.m. in Johannesburg, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The metal for immediate delivery was little changed at $1 027.33 an ounce in London, after reaching a five-year low last week.

Harmony is the world’s highest-cost major gold producer, according to data compiled by Bloomberg Intelligence. It last traded 16 percent higher at R13.16.

Anglo American Platinum, which is the world’s biggest producer of the metal and has the majority of its operations in South Africa, rose 4.1 percent. Impala Platinum Holdings, the second-largest, climbed 6.2 percent.

Bloomberg