January mining production shafted by platinum group metals and coal

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Mining production declined 6.2% year-on-year in January 2021.
Mining production declined 6.2% year-on-year in January 2021.

Mining production reported its 11th consecutive month of year-on-year declines, with January production down 6.2% from the previous year.

Stats SA on Thursday released mining production and sales data for January. On a month-on-month basis, production picked up by 4.5% compared to December 2020. The consensus expectation was that of a 1.9% decline in year-on-year production and growth of 0.4% on a month-on-month basis.

Among the major contributors to declining year-on-year production were platinum group metals (down 14.5%), followed by coal (down 13.5%). Gold production was down 14.1%.

On the flip side, manganese ore was a significant positive contributor with production up 34.7% year-on-year. Notably, diamond production increased 44.2% on a year-on-year basis and 9.8% on a month-on-month basis.

Mineral sales increased 24.9% on a year-on-year basis in January. The largest positive contributors were platinum group metals (up 37.8%), gold (up 71.6%) and iron ore (up 43.3%).

Investec economist Kamilla Kaplan, ahead of the data release, said that both mining and manufacturing production for January were expected to reflect a "weak start" to the year.

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