Haruyoshi Yamaguchi/Bloomberg News

South African Gold Miners Rally Most Since 1999 as Metal Rises

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South Africa’s index of gold-mining stocks surged the most this week on record as the precious metal traded near a one-month high and the rand extended declines.

The five-member FTSE/JSE Africa Gold Mining Index climbed 2 percent to 1,022.93 by the close in Johannesburg, bringing its five-day gain to 28 percent. Pan African Resources Plc led the advance on Friday, adding 3.8 percent to bring its gain this week to 17 percent. AngloGold Ashanti was the best performer in the week, gaining 33 percent. Spot gold advanced 0.5 percent to $1.158 an ounce, the highest since July 13.

The precious metal has climbed 3.8 percent this week as investors scaled back bets on a Federal Reserve rate increase next month and a stock and currency sell-off in emerging markets spurred demand for safe assets. South African gold miners also benefit from a weaker rand because they pay costs in the local currency while selling their exports for dollars, helping the index to rally from a 15-year low on August 6.

“The gold stocks, particularly South African gold stocks, were undervalued, not only relative to the global peer group, but to the local mining index as well,” Richard Hart, director of equity research at Arqaam Capital SA Pvt Ltd., said from Johannesburg. “This has really been a recovery of some of that value.”

Gold Fields Ltd., South Africa’s second-biggest producer, advanced 4.5 percent to bring its weekly gain to 31 percent, while Sibanye Gold Ltd. added 14 percent in the week, and Harmony Gold Mining Co. 6.5 percent.

Outperforming Benchmark

Gold stocks are outperforming the benchmark JSE/FTSE Johannesburg All-Share Index, which has been battered by a slump in commodity prices and a slowdown in China, the biggest buyer of South African exports. The index fell 1.5 percent on Friday, bringing its weekly decline to 3.5 percent, the most since Aug. 2011.

The rand, which weakened to breach 13 per dollar for the first time in almost 14 years on Thursday, was little changed at 12.9343 per dollar.

A wage settlement at gold-mining companies may provide further support for the stocks. While the two biggest mining-industry labor unions said on Aug. 14 wage negotiations had broken down, the chances of a protracted strike are low, Troye Brady, an analyst at Noah Capital Markets Pty Ltd., said by phone from Johannesburg.

“We’ve had some really bad strikes over the last couple of years and my impression is that the appetite for strikes by workers is not as high as it was before,” Brady said. “It’s a lose-lose situation to strike, and workers have realized, hopefully, that nobody wins in a strike.”

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