Swings and roundabouts

Depressed commodity prices and lacklustre global growth have continued to temper investor sentiment in African markets.

During the month, the IMF revised its GDP growth forecast for the sub-Saharan Africa region from 4% (predicted in January) to 3%, largely due to the slowdown in oil-exporting countries.

Although the MSCI Frontier Markets Africa Index gained 3.86% in April, it was still down -0.97% this year.

Of the 11 main Africa indices, ex South Africa, six made gains in April and five lost ground. Year to date, seven were under water and only four had made gains.

Zimbabwe’s ZSE Industrial Index recorded the biggest percentage gain for the month, rising 8.38% in April to settle -7.89% in arrears year to date.

The Morocco All Share Index (MASI) also notched up a significant gain, rising 6.94% in April to end the month 11.76% positive year to date.

Egypt’s EGX 30 added 3.3% for the month on the back of a 22.42% surge in March, taking its year-to-date gain to 10.95%. However, the index was down -2.12% in US dollar terms since the start of the year.

Namibia’s NSX Overall Index gained 3.2%, increasing its year-to-date profit to 18.31%.

Botswana’s Gaborone Index rose 0.95% but was -2.85% down on the year.

Kenya’s NSE 20 gained 0.68% and was -0.78% in deficit year to date.

The Lusaka All Share recorded the biggest loss for the month with a -9.4% shortfall and was -12.62% negative for the year. However, Bloomberg News reported that by mid-April the kwacha had been the world’s best-performing currency in 2016, advancing almost 20% against the US dollar, benefitting from a rise in copper prices, increased mining investment and proposed changes to mineral royalties.

Ghana’s GSE Composite Index retreated -4.53% in April and was -8.33% in the red year to date.

Tunisia’s TUNINDEX gave back -1.19% for the month but was 6.24% in positive territory year to date.

Nigeria’s All Share Index decreased -0.96%, extending the deficit to -12.5% year to date. During the month, the IMF slashed its projected 2016 GDP growth forecast for Nigeria from 4.1% to 2.3%. Investors remain cautious over uncertainty about currency devaluation and foreign-exchange shortages.

The SEMDEX in Mauritius shed -0.85% in April to end the month -1.61% in the red for the year so far. Copyright. HedgeNews Africa – May 2016.