Egypt again leads the African pack

Most African stock markets were quiet in February as trading volumes remained relatively small. However, seven of the eleven markets registered gains, while Egypt delivered strong returns for a second month running, adding 15.1%.

Egypt’s EGX 30 once again stole the top spot, returning 15.1%, while Zimbabwe’s Industrial Index moved 5.42% into the black. Ghana’s Composite Index gained ground in February, adding 4.3%.

Namibia’s Overall Index (2.68%) and Kenya’s NSE 20 (2.47%) both managed positive returns in February. Tunisia’s TUNINDEX along with Morocco’s Casablanca Index rounded off the gainers, achieving 1.56% and 1.32% respectively.

Nigeria’s All Share index lost the most in February, falling 3.6%, with the Mauritian SEMDEX doing slightly better at 3.01% in the red. Zambia’s All Share Index and Botswana’s Local Companies Index fell 0.25% and 0.12% respectively.

Egypt rallied strongly on the back of firm volumes, with a number of listings performing strongly. Egypt’s EGX 30 continued to rally toward month-end, leaving the year-to-date figure up 47.69%.
Gains were evident in a number of sectors, with the largest gain of 61.87% belonging to property development company, Palm Hills.

Secondary industries performed well with steel producer Ezz Steel and Orascom Construction rising 45.39% and 10.39% respectively. Orascom’s shares benefited from a US$363 million contract with the Iraqi government to construct a power station. Financial services fared well with EFG Hermes returning 24.87% during February.

Egypt’s presidential elections are planned for March 23. Opinions appear moderate as the dominant party, the Muslim Brotherhood, is expected to receive the major proportion of voter support.

Zimbabwe’s stock exchange showed consistent growth throughout February, however, financial services company, CBZ, fell 22.22%.

Although down 3.6% in February, strong returns were seen from some counters on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. Furthermore, Nigeria’s banks received a positive review by ratings agency, Standard & Poor’s. With this news, United African Bank, Access Bank and Zenith Bank returned 35.5%, 45.92% and 7.07% respectively.

Mauritian stocks have declined steadily since the international tourism market began to slow. February was no exception with 2012 forecasts reducing tourist numbers by 300,000 to 980,000.
Tourism stock New Mauritius Hotels declined 11% while Air Mauritius fell 11.76% despite austerity measures to cut costs.

There was positive news for Kenyan inflation with the rate falling to 16.69%, a decline of 1.62% from January, due to reduced food and transport costs. Expectations of monetary easing aided the stock market’s advance with British American Tobacco rising 25% and East African Breweries up 14.4% in February.

Negative sentiment engulfed the Zambian economy as Finch rating agency downgraded it to unstable. The decision came as a number of President Michael Sata’s policies have come under scrutiny, most notably, privatisation.

On a positive note, it is hoped 12,000 jobs are hoped to will be created in the construction of a US$7.7 billion oil refinery in Zambia. The project has ties with Tanzania and includes large investments in infrastructure with the aim of the country becoming an oil exporting hub. Copyright HedgeNews Africa – March 2012


Market results        
Country Local Index Local Index (Feb) Local Index (YTD)
Nigeria All Share -3.6% -2.93%
Ghana GSE Composite Index 4.3% 4.9%
Kenya NSE 20 2.47% 3.08%
Egypt EGX 30 15.1% 47.69%
Botswana Gaborone Index -0.12% -0.04%
Tunisia TUNINDEX 1.56% 0.98%
Morocco CFG 25 1.32% 3.39%
Mauritius SEMDEX -3.01% -6.09%
Zimbabwe Industrials Index 5.42% 0.12%
Zambia All Share -0.25% -7.06%  
Namibia Overall Index 2.68% 10.34%  

Data source: Bloomberg