Many investors are not looking forward with much enthusiasm to 2016, and USD-based investors had a hard year in Africa in 2015. Out of all the African markets which list returns in USD, only the regional market Bourse Régionale des Valeurs Mobilières SA (BRVM) had a positive return, with a 6% gain over the year to 31 Dec 2015, according to these figures published by Ryan Hoover who writes in investinginafrica.net. By comparison the S&P 500 lost only 0.7% over the year.
Performance in all the other markets listed was bad, partly as African currencies crashed against the USD, driven down by deteriorating exports as commodity prices fell. The best of the rest for USD investors were the Namibian and Botswana bourses with -4.3% and -5.9% respectively, better than Johannesburg at -27.9.5% (NAD is linked to ZAR 1 for 1 and the ZAR USD collapsed in Dec with finance minister drama as reported here).
Zambia’s kwacha declined hard and the Lusaka Stock Exchange offered USD a 46.1% fall, slightly worse than Rwanda (-43.2%) and Zimbabwe (-29.4%).
Samuel Kerosi of enjoyable website Kenyan Wall Street looks at performance to local currency investors and points out that only three were up by the measure of their indices: BRVM Composite Index was up 18.5%, the Botswana Domestic Companies index climbed 11.6% and the JSE All Share Index was up 2.4% for the year.
Zimbabwe Stock Exchange is priced in USD and was the worst-performing market in Africa despite not having currency decline, as companies struggle to cope both as they cannot devalue to stay competitive with imports and in the continuing political difficulties.
Kerosi points out that 25 companies in Zimbabwe have negative earnings per share and 6 of the top 10 saw market capitalization down, with Econet Wireless, a great telecoms company, down by 64% in 2015. He is impressed with Botswana’s Sechaba Breweries, an investment-holding company with 60% of the shares in Kgalagadi Breweries (Pty) Ltd., joint shareholder with SABMiller Botswana.
Kerosi’s conclusion: “It has been a really tough year (2015) in the African markets, looking on the bright side valuations have come down and one can be able to find quality companies at good values with a long term view typically 5 – 10 years.”
NOTE: Hoover and Kerosi give very different views on the Namibian Stock Exchange, presumably Hoover is looking at the NSX Local Index, which had a good year, and Kerosi at the NSX Overall Index, heavily influenced by dual-listed South African companies including Anglo-American which operates diamond mines in Namibia.