Resources drive Alsi to new high

Christopher Gilmour

Christopher Gilmour

Wednesday's rise in the JSE All Share Index, Alsi, to a new record high took observers by surprise.

The Alsi reached a seven-month high to 31748,92 points.

The rise has been caused almost exclusively by the run in resources stocks, notably the really big components like Anglo American, BHP Billiton, Angloplat and Sasol.

These are the top four stocks on the JSE by market capitalisation.

The commodity "supercycle" that has been going for about seven years now is still intact.

Its drivers may have eased off a little with the likelihood of the US entering a mild recession, but the really big drivers - strong growth in China and India - are still pumping.

Coal and base metals remain in high demand as emerging economies like China and India build more basic infrastructure.

The platinum price should be vulnerable, given that vehicle demand in the US must surely slacken off. But it is not. South Africa, the largest supplier of platinum, is beset by production problems caused largely by Eskom's incompetence and that's not likely to go away any time soon.

The real joker in the pack at present is the crude oil price. The threat of a US recession is having no impact at all on the high levels of this commodity.

The consensus appears to be that the oil price is set to remain high unless an alternative liquid energy source can be brought to the market. That makes the JSE's fourth largest stock by market capitalisation - Sasol - increasingly attractive.

- Gilmour is an analyst at Absa Capital Private Clients