Gold shares flicker but political gloom descends on SA – by David McKay ( – March 31, 2017)

SOUTH African gold shares were lifted as investors sold rands, but the currency sell-down was a consequence of a tumultuous overnight cabinet reshuffle in which the country’s President Jacob Zuma rewarded cronyism and incompetence.

Finance minister Pravin Gordhan was fired and replaced by home affairs minister, Malusi Gigaba – a key change among a host of other ministerial switches that will usher a period of make-or-break politics for democratic order in South Africa.

In the short-term, however, a fall in the rand to R13.38 – a 6.5% weakening over the last seven days – brought relief to gold miners who subsequently saw the rand gold price improve to about R533,500/kg this morning from about R510,000/kg earlier in the month.

Shares in AngloGold Ashanti, Gold Fields and Harmony Gold gained 4.13%, 4.5% and 5.75% respectively by midday whilst Sibanye Gold was 3.5% higher and DRDGold 4.8% stronger. The shares had largely registered the same gains after lunch bar Harmony Gold which was over 8% higher owing to its higher leverage to the rand gold price.

AngloGold, Harmony and DRDGold reported all-in sustaining costs (AISC) of above R510,000/kg in their last reporting periods which many shafts operated by the companies loss-making. Sibanye Gold said it was considering cutting jobs at some of its marginal shafts while AngloGold has already announced restructuring.

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