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African markets, ex South Africa, maintained their upward momentum in February 2013, albeit at a slower pace than in January, with seven of the 11 bourses we report on recording gains for the month.

Ghana’s GSE Composite Index has had a cracking start for the year, gaining 16.65% in February with a year-to-date increase of 23.55%.

Ghana’s presidential and parliamentary elections went mainly smoothly in December with incumbent president John Mahama securing a narrow victory with 50.7% of the vote, enough to avoid a run-off against New Patriotic Party (NPP) candidate Nana Akufo-Addo. The NPP has since filed a petition at the Supreme Court to challenge the result. Growth in Ghana is expected to strengthen to 3.5% in 2013, according to the Bank of Ghana, while ratings agencies Moody’s and Fitch both released reports in mid-February forecasting that the country will achieve strong growth as oil and gas come online. However, concerns remain over the country’s budget deficit: “On debt affordability metrics … Ghana ranks below all comparable peers,” Moody’s said. Fitch, which gives Ghana a B+ rating, noted that at the start of 2012 the government had set a budget deficit target of 4.8% of GDP, but this had ballooned to 12.1% by year’s end.

Elsewhere on the continent, Nigeria’s All Share continued its strong run. On top of a 13.44% gain in January the bourse added 3.84% in February, despite dipping 2.01% on profit-taking in the week ending March 1. Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics on February 28 released estimates showing that real GDP grew at a rate of 6.99% in the fourth quarter of 2012, up 51 basis points on Q3, 2012.

Zimbabwe’s Industrials Index climbed 1.84% in February, adding to its meteoric 17.68% gain in January.

After a poor start to the year, Zambia’s Lusaka All Share climbed 7.85% in February, putting it 5.67% in the black for 2013.

Ahead of Kenya’s March 4 general election, the NSE 20 rose 2.31% in February, with the index up by 9.33% year to date.

The sun’s been shining in Mauritius where a 3.65% gain in February lifted the SEMDEX to 7.75% for the year.

Botswana’s Gaborone Index continued its steady upward trajectory, adding 2.04% in February to bring its year-to-date gains to 5.72%.

Morocco’s CFG 25 has had an inglorious year so far, down -4.08% since January 1, after slipping -0.8% in February.

Egypt’s EGX 30 pared most of its January gains with a -2.09% dip into the red in February, putting it 0.5% higher for the year so far.

Tunisia’s TUNIDEX was down -2.6% in February after a 3.92% gain the month before.
Namibia’s Overall Index shed -1.72% in February and is -0.98% in arrears for the year to date. Copyright. HedgeNews Africa – March 2013.