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Weak Rand Lifts South Africa Platinum Stocks: Johannesburg Mover

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Nov. 5 (Bloomberg) -- The gauge of South African platinum-mining stocks advanced the most in more than six weeks as the rand extended its decline against the dollar, boosting the local-currency price of the metal.

The six-member FTSE/JSE Africa Platinum Mining Index, which includes the world’s three biggest producers, gained 4.6 percent to 51 by the close, the most since Sept. 19. The South African currency weakened 1.2 percent against the dollar by 5:30 p.m. in Johannesburg, extending losses this year to 17 percent and boosting the rand-price of platinum 0.9 percent.

“While the platinum price is little changed in dollars it’s not far off a two-month high in local-currency terms,” Ryan Wibberley, head of equity dealing for frontier and emerging markets at Investec Asset Management, said by phone from Cape Town today.

The gains come even as about 7,000 workers continued a strike that started on Nov. 3 at Northam Platinum Ltd.’s biggest mine, while pay talks continue at Anglo American Platinum Ltd., Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. and Lonmin Plc. Miners in Africa’s biggest economy benefit from a weak local currency because their domestic costs are in rand while exports earn dollar revenue.

Impala, the second-biggest producer of the metal, rose 6 percent to 127.63 rand, snapping the longest losing streak since May. Output for the three months through September dropped 17 percent after the miner stopped taking deliveries from a recycling client.

Production at the company’s Rustenburg mine, the largest platinum operation in the world, rose 1 percent in the period, while output climbed 50 percent to 60,000 ounces at Implats’ Zimbabwean unit, it said.

Solid Production

“We’ve seen a fairly solid production report for the first quarter,” Wibberley said. Impala appears “on track to achieve 270,000 ounces from Zimplats by 2015,” he said.

Aquarius Platinum Ltd. rose 3.4 percent to 7.69 rand. Lonmin, which also has operations in Rustenburg, added 3.6 percent to 54.21 rand.

South Africa has the world’s largest-known reserves of platinum and chrome. The precious metal is used in catalytic converters that help reduce emissions from cars.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jaco Visser in Johannesburg at avisser3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Vernon Wessels at vwessels@bloomberg.net

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