The All-Share index looks to complete its seventh day of consecutive gains, moving within touching distance of its all-time highs. Resource counters are once again at the forefront of this week’s gains, following higher commodity prices while the rand remains weak although well off this year’s lows.
Mining production figures reported for South Africa in December 2013 showed a strong 12% annualized growth. The main contributions to the increase came from iron ore followed by platinum group metals (PGMs) and gold.
Retail sales figures at constant prices were a beat on consensus, with year on year growth at 3.5%, while manufacturing production for 2013 increased a lackluster 1.5%.
In the US, Janet Yellen addressed the public for the first time in her new role as Federal Reserve Bank chairman. Mrs. Yellen highlighted that she remained committed to her predecessor’s path of economic stimulus relative to growth and employment conditions in the US.
The supporting data this week out of the world’s largest economy was subpar, with weekly unemployment claims being worse than expected, while month-on-month retail sales showed an unexpected contraction. The news has witnessed a softer dollar and in turn higher commodity prices.