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S.African shares fall, miners drop on growth jitters
March 20, 2012 / 3:37 PM / 6 years ago

S.African shares fall, miners drop on growth jitters

* BHP sees “flattening” iron ore demand from China

* Market closed Wednesday for public holiday

JOHANNESBURG, March 20 (Reuters) - South African shares wilted on Tuesday on renewed concerns about China’s growth outlook with resource stocks including Anglo American leading the wider market down.

The blue-chip Top-40 index fell 1.21 percent to 30,026.43. The broader All-share index ended down about 1 percent at 33,878.56.

It was the market’s second straight day in the red, taking it further from record highs scaled earlier this year. The Top-40 was seen as receiving technical support around the 30,000 mark.

The market will be closed on Wednesday for South Africa’s Human Rights Day holiday.

European stocks also fell amid concern about the scale of China’s growth slowdown, with Australian iron ore miners signaling demand growth was finally slowing in response to Beijing’s moves to cool its economy.

BHP Billiton , the world’s biggest miner, said it was seeing signs of “flattening” iron ore demand from China, though for now it was pushing ahead with plans to expand production further.

BHP’s shares in Johannesburg fell over 3 percent to 238.49 while Anglo American’s local shares sank almost 4 percent to 306.00 rand.

South Africa’s Kumba Iron Ore dropped 2.22 percent.

But some analysts said the overall demand picture for iron ore looked robust.

“Even if iron ore demand growth is no longer in double digits, it’s still coming off an extremely high base and the actual tonnes per annum are still quite high,” said Byron Lotter, portfolio manager at Johannesburg-based private wealth manager Vestact.

“We are of the opinion that resource stocks will be re-rated and that there is a lot of value in them,” he said.

Among gainers, building retailer Cashbuild added almost 3 percent to 123.50 rand after it announced its interim earnings had more than doubled.

Decliners outnumbered advancers 157 to 128 while shares in 65 firms were unchanged.

Reporting by Ed Stoddard; Editing by Jon Herskovitz

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