South African stocks climb as platinum miners rally

South Africa’s main stock index advanced for a third day, climbing to the highest in almost three years as a rally among platinum miners resumed, with some investors concerned that the pandemic may disrupt supplies of the metal from the world’s biggest producer.

The FTSE/JSE Africa All Shares Index rose 0.7% to 61,326 in Johannesburg, the highest intraday level since 29 January, 2018 – and within sight of the record closing high of 61,685. An index of platinum producers gained 2.1%, extending its advance in the past six months to 56%.

Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. rose 2.4%, Sibanye Stillwater Ltd. climbed 2% and Anglo American Platinum Ltd. was up 1.8%. The industry gauge dropped 3.8% in the previous session.

Platinum on Tuesday posted its highest closing price in more than four years, while sister-metal palladium touched an almost 10-month intraday high, “possibly on fears of potential disruption to logistics on any flight ban out of South Africa,” StoneX analyst Rhona O’Connell said in a note.

South Africa’s National Coronavirus Command Council will gather on Wednesday to discuss the worsening situation in the country. South Africa, with 1.11 million confirmed infections and more than 30,000 deaths, is the nation in Africa worst affected by Covid-19.

Local market giant and global tech investor Naspers Ltd. was the biggest single contributor to Wednesday’s overall gains, rising 1.6% as partly owned Chinese internet behemoth Tencent Holdings Ltd. climbed in Hong Kong.

Sasol Ltd. was also among the most influential gainers in Johannesburg, climbing as much as 4.6% after oil surged to a 10-month high on Saudi Arabia’s pledge to cut an extra 1 million barrels a day of crude output in February and March.

Read: South African stocks fluctuate ahead of possible Covid-19 restrictions

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South African stocks climb as platinum miners rally