South Africa’s share gauge declined the most in four weeks, led by mining companies, as commodities fell amid concern that Chinese consumption is slowing and that Europe’s bailout effort may be derailed by a Greek referendum.
The FTSE/JSE Africa All Share Index retreated 1.8 percent to 31,765.99 as of 4:25 p.m. in Johannesburg, its biggest drop since Oct. 4. Copper slid as much as 4.4 percent to $7,635.75 per metric ton on the London Metal Exchange. Anglo American Plc (AGL), the mining company that makes up about 9 percent of the benchmark measure, slipped 1.9 percent. BHP Billiton Plc (BIL), the world’s biggest mining group, declined 1.8 percent.
The referendum risks pushing Greece into default if rejected by voters and raises the ante with dissidents in Prime Minister George Papandreou’s own party. Prices also fell after a gauge of manufacturing in China, the top global copper consumer, dropped to the lowest level in almost three years.
“The enthusiasm for the EU rescue plan has now waned, and the big surprise of the Greek referendum is likely to unnerve global markets,” Benoit Anne, the London-based head of global emerging-markets strategy at Societe Generale SA, wrote in an e- mail to clients today. “On this basis, we think that emerging market assets will continue to perform poorly in the near term, in the context of a challenging risk environment.”
A Purchasing Managers’ Index fell to 50.4 from 51.2 in September, the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said today. That compared with the median estimate of 51.8 in a Bloomberg News survey of 16 economists. A reading above 50 indicates expansion. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index declined 2.7 percent, following a 1.5 percent drop yesterday and heading for the steepest two-day decline since Oct. 4.
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