The country is a major gold producer as well as being as one of the top two producers of palladium and platinum in the world. South African miners have been enjoying improved margins due to a surge in prices on raw materials like iron ore and platinum while the rand currency depreciated against the dollar.
Some analysts also believed that palladium could continue to shine as tightening market conditions will continue through 2018. Traders have increased positioning in future market as automobile sales hit record highs, especially with rising automobile sales in China.
“Lower levels of growth and heightened uncertainty about policy direction and policymakers’ commitment to structural reforms have increased the risk of a weakening of the government balance sheet,” according to a Moody’s note, cited by Barron’s.
Many still believe South Africa’s economy has its work cut out for it as the government tackles high unemployment and high debt. Credit agency Fitch recently downgraded South Africa to just one notch above speculative-grade status and stated that the dismissal of Nene (the former finance minister) had “raised more negative than positive questions.”
“Moody’s downgraded the long-term issuer and senior unsecured ratings of the government of South Africa to Baa3 from Baa2. Moody’s also downgraded senior unsecured debt issued by ZAR Sovereign Capital Fund Propriety Limited, a special purpose vehicle whose debt issuance is ultimately the obligation of the South African government, to Baa3 from Baa2, with a negative outlook. South Africa’s long-term local-currency bond and deposit ceilings were lowered to A2 from A1, and the long-term and short-term foreign-currency bond ceilings lowered to A3/P-2 from A2/P-1, respectively,” according to Barron’s.