South Africa’s mining output surges 18.8% y/y in March on strong PGM rebound

By bne IntelliNews May 14, 2015

South Africa’s mining output surged 18.8% y/y in March after a revised 7.8% growth the month before, driven up by a more than double increase on the production of the PGM (platinum group metals) sector, which was hit by a strike during the first five months of last year, preliminary data from Statistics South Africa showed.

Production of PGMs soared 132% y/y in March, speeding from a 26.7% y/y growth in March. The sector, which has a 19% weight in the index, contributed 13.1pp to the overall output development (2.8pp in February).

Of the other major mining sectors, performance improved also in the coal (26.5% weight) and gold (21.1% weight) industries, while it deteriorated in the iron ore (14.5% weight) sector.

Coal was the second biggest positive contributor (2.5pp) to the overall development, as output rose 9% y/y in March after a 2.9% y/y growth in February (contribution of +0.8pp).

Gold output grew 3.3% y/y in March, reversing a 7% contraction in February, and contributed 0.6pp versus -1.3pp in February.

Growth in iron ore output slowed significantly in March – to 3.5% from 21.8%, so its contribution declined to 0.7pp from 4pp in February.

On a seasonally adjusted monthly comparison basis, the country’s mining output rose 7.1% in March, following a revised 4.0% increase in February.

The seasonally adjusted mining output for Q1 grew 1.9% q/q, mainly due to a 24.3% rise in PGM output.

South Africa is the world's biggest supplier of platinum and a major gold producer. Mining directly accounts for about 6% of the country's GDP and for some 18% indirectly. It is also responsible for about 60% of the country’s export revenues. The sector has a significant impact over other parts of the economy and its performance is a major indicator of economic growth prospects.

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