Mining stocks and Sasol leap on commodity prices
JOHANNESBURG - THE JSE All Share Index (Alsi) recorded a marginal recovery on Friday as Sasol, miners including Kumba Iron Ore and gold stocks strengthened as the rand weakness against the US dollar was expected to help further lift bullion producers.
The Alsi was 0.78 percent higher at 68 271.19 points after closing in the red for two consecutive days on prospects of rising global inflation as US bond yields rose again.
Petrochemicals giant Sasol hit R223.93 closing the day up 13.95 percent propelled by the strong oil price tailwind following the decision by the world’s biggest producers to extend production cuts given that the demand recovery from the coronavirus pandemic was still fragile.
Opec said during a meeting on Thursday they would largely roll over production cuts during April resulting in a surge in oil prices.
Brent crude, the global benchmark increased 5 percent to $67.55 (R1 036.70) a barrel on Thursday, and rose to $68.26 a barrel on Friday. The market digested the news. US oil prices are now above $60 a barrel after recovering from the crash a year ago.
Portfolio manager at Vestact Asset Management Michael Treherne said the high price was good for Sasol.
“The Sasol share price is directly linked to the oil price. The focus this week for the oil market was the Opec+ meeting yesterday (Thursday). The expectation was that Russia would push for an increase in output but the meeting ended with no change in output. Currently, Opec has cut supply by around 9 million barrels a day, so a significant decrease. Having this heavy cap on supply is the reason that oil is in the upper $60s,” Treherne said.
Thursday’s price rally was a far cry from the oil price collapse a year ago.
Chief analyst at ActivTrades, Carlo Alberto De Casa, said that Thursday’s Opec meeting did nothing to dent the good mood of investors for oil.
“On the contrary, the decision to maintain current production restrictions including cuts in Saudi Arabia has given further buying impetus to the current bullish rally,” said De Casa.
Saudi Arabia said that it would extend its voluntary oil output cut of 1 million barrels per day (bpd), and decide in coming months when to gradually phase it out. However, Russia was allowed to raise output by 130 000 bpd in April and Kazakhstan by another 20 000 bpd.
De Casa said the West Texas Intermediate, one of the main benchmarks, had jumped to a new Covid-era record at $65 a barrel, as investors were betting on new rallies.
Meanwhile, Kumba Iron Ore, South Africa’s largest iron ore producer, was 8.24 percent higher at R678.65 a share and parent company Anglo American rose 2.95 percent to R625.86 a share.
Gold producers also climbed, despite the marginal 0.4 percent fall in the gold price to $1 694 an ounce, and the gold mining index was 3.54 percent higher at 3 577 points. Gold Fields strengthened by 4.53 percent to R136.30 a share, AngloGold Ashanti was 4.19 percent a share higher than the previous day’s trade at R316.33 a share and Harmony Gold Company was 2.17 percent higher at R63.05 a share.