SA stocks drift lower with Covid-19 curbs in focus

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South Africa’s main stock index fell, tracking declines in Asian markets amid caution over virus-related curbs, including new measures announced locally on Monday evening.

The benchmark FTSE/JSE Africa All Share index dropped 0.5% as of 9:18 a.m. in Johannesburg, dragged lower by its four largest members, with Naspers [JSE:NPN] down 0.6%, BHP Group losing 1.2%, Richemont [JSE:CFR] sliding 0.9% and Anglo American [JSE:AGL] declining 0.8%. The stocks account for about 46% of the index.

Elsewhere, fuels and chemicals producer Sasol [JSE:SOL] sank for a second day, dropping as much as 4.1%, as crude oil prices weakened.

Government will curb alcohol sales and close some beaches at the height of the summer-holiday season, among a series of new restrictions to rein in surging coronavirus infections. As South Africa is fast-approaching 1 million infections, with 866 127 people having contracted the disease so far, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Monday.

South African markets will be shut on Wednesday for the Day of Reconciliation public holiday.

Foreigners were net buyers of South African stocks for a seventh day on Monday, purchasing R680 million of local equities, according to exchange operator JSE.

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