AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. climbed the most in three weeks in Johannesburg trading on speculation the third-largest producer of the metal could follow Gold Fields Ltd. and spin off its South African assets.
The stock advanced 3.9 percent, the most since Nov. 7, to 275 rand by the close in Johannesburg. Gold Fields, the fourth-biggest producer, rose 5.7 percent, the most in more than two months.
Gold Fields will spin off part of its South African business as strikes and above-inflation pay gains add to costs and curb output for mining companies in the country. AngloGold Ashanti retains the option of splitting up its South African operations, Chief Executive Officer Mark Cutifani said Nov. 21.
“There is the same kind of sentiment that AngloGold could do the same and that’s why the share is moving today,” Martin Strauss, a Pretoria-based stockbroker at PSG Konsult Ltd., said by phone. “It strips country-specific risk out of the rest of their operations, such as the labor unrest we’ve seen and lack of clarity on government policy.”
Industrial disputes this year will shave 0.5 percentage point off economic growth in the country and cut exports by more than 12.5 billion rand ($1.4 billion), the National Treasury has said. Mining, contributing 6 percent to the economy and employing almost half a million people, will take a year to recover from job losses after strikes that began in South Africa’s platinum industry, before spreading to gold, iron-ore, coal and diamond mining, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said Nov. 26.
About a third of AngloGold’s metal comes from South Africa, the continent’s biggest economy, where it employs about 35,000.
The company’s 30-day historical volatility, a measure of stock swings, increased to 31.26 from 29.51 yesterday. The FTSE/JSE Africa All Share Index’s 30-day volatility measure was at 9.2 compared with 8.81 yesterday. A higher reading means an asset’s price can have bigger moves. More than 1.5 million shares traded, 1.2 times the daily average in the past three months.