JOHANNESBURG, June 20 (Reuters) - South African stocks slid more than 3 percent on Thursday as global markets slumped on the prospect of a slowdown in the U.S. Federal Reserve’s bond-buying programme.
The benchmark Top-40 index dropped 3.28 percent to close at 35,199.29, while the broader All-share index declined 3.06 percent to 39,536.08.
Fed chairman Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday that the central bank could begin slowing the pace of its $85 billion in monthly bond purchases if the U.S. economy continues to improve.
Emerging markets, which have benefited most from the Fed’s easy money policy, saw some of the biggest selling and South African bond yields spiked almost half a percentage point, the biggest one-day rise in ten years.
In the stock market, the sell-off was broad-based, with miners, retailers and property shares hit.
Kumba Iron Ore suffered the heaviest losses on the Top 40, with its shares diving 7.59 percent to 445.50 rand as weak manufacturing data from China raised fears about the outlook for demand in the world’s largest consumer of steel.
Anglo American Platinum shares were down 4.85 percent to 300.97 rand as platinum prices fell.
Shares of media and e-commerce group Naspers, which delivers full-year results next week, shed 5.42 percent to 716 rand while Woolworths shares fell 5.52 percent to 63 rand.
“We’ve seen some big moves on some of the shares but the index is more or less in line with what’s happening in markets across the world,” said Ferdi Heyneke, portfolio manager at Afrifocus Securities.
“The whole thing has been as a result of the Fed meeting giving a bit of clarity on some assumptions about the tapering of stimulus,” he added. “But the market got a little bit spooked.”