Foreigners dump SA shares, but rand-hedges jump

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South African stocks rose, led by companies that derive much of their income abroad and benefit from weakness in the local currency, as authorities grappled with a wave of unrest in two key provinces that has left more than 70 people dead.

The FTSE/JSE Africa All Share Index was 1.1% higher as of 10:09 a.m. in Johannesburg, with rand-hedge giants BHP Group Plc, Richemont, Anglo American Plc and Naspers prominent in the advance after the currency slipped to its lowest level against the dollar since April.

South Africans are expected to face major food shortages, as rioters upend supply chains by looting supermarkets and torching goods trucks.

Negative foreign sentiment toward South African stocks was evident in the large outflows recorded Tuesday, with non-residents selling R4 billion of local equities, the most since November last year.

Globally, investors are evaluating a surprise U.S. inflation jump that stirred the debate on how long Federal Reserve policy can stay ultra-loose. The June US inflation print topped all forecasts and pointed to higher costs associated with the reopening from the pandemic.

In Johannesburg Wednesday, an index of industrial miners surged 1.7% to provide the biggest boost to the overall market.

  • BHP +1.1% after RBC Capital Markets said the company has the potential to pay out 100% of 2021 earnings in dividends and still come in below its net debt target amid surging iron ore prices.
  • Anglo American +1.2%, Glencore Plc +1.6%, Kumba Iron Ore Ltd. +0.7%, African Rainbow Minerals Ltd. +0.5%
  • Luxury goods retailer and popular rand-hedge Richemont advanced 1.2% to a record.

    Global tech investor Naspers advanced 1.7% to contribute the most to the rising benchmark.

    An index of banks steadied after plunging the most since December on Tuesday. The gauge was 0.7% higher, with Standard Bank Group Ltd. up 1.1%.

    Real Estate Investment Trusts dropped to the lowest in two weeks, as investors avoided some sectors exposed to the unrest.

    • GrowthPoint Properties Ltd. -1.1%, Redefine Properties Ltd. -1.2%, Vukile Property Fund Ltd. -2.5%, Attacq Ltd. -3.7%, EPP NV -1.7%, Irongate Group -1.2%, Hyprop Investments Ltd. -0.8%, Hammerson Plc -1.3%, Resilient Reit Ltd 1.1%
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