South Africa’s stocks gauge fell the most in more than 10 months as mining companies slumped on concern comments from the U.S. Federal Reserve and China signaled lower demand for commodities.
The FTSE/JSE Africa All Share Index dropped 1.9 percent, the most since April 4, to 39,670.09 by the close in Johannesburg. The mining index retreated 3.6 percent, the most since August 2011. The main gauge has slid 2.5 percent this week, set for the biggest weekly decline since May.
China, the world’s second-biggest economy, called on local authorities to curb real-estate speculation and rein in the property market, according to a statement yesterday. The Federal Reserve may consider slowing the pace of asset purchases, according to minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee’s Jan. 29-30 meeting released yesterday in Washington.
“Nobody knows what is going to happen after the minutes, whether they are going to pull the plug or not,” Jesse van Rensburg, an equity sales trader at Johannesburg-based Renaissance BJM Securities (Pty) Ltd., said by phone. “Metal prices are down. There are some downbeat comments from China.”
The Standard & Poor’s GSCI index of raw materials slumped to an almost five-week low as prices of metals including copper and platinum tumbled. Commodities accounted for 53 percent of South Africa’s exports in 2012, according to government data.