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Bloodbath in African stock markets

MOST African stock markets suffered heavy losses for the nine months to end-September 2016, amid concerns that economic growth for rest of 2016 are going to decline further.

According to the World Bank’s latest Africa’s Pulse report, economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa is expected to fall further to 1,6% in 2016 from 3% in the prior year.

This is the lowest growth level in over two decades.

The World Bank said the sharp decline in aggregate growth reflects challenging economic conditions in the region’s largest economies and commodity exporters.

The slowed growth has now been reflected on African stock markets, with most of them closing negative in US dollar terms for the nine months to September 30.

Nigeria the worst affected

The Nigerian Stock Exchange is the worst affected, after it fell by 38,04% to close at 28 335,40.

The Nigerian economy slipped into recession this year after its vital oil industry was hit by weaker global prices. The oil price has fallen from highs of about $112 a barrel in 2014 to below US$50 at present.

Outside the oil industry the drop in the Nigerian currency, the naira, has also hurt the economy.

Zambia’s Lusaka Stock Exchange recorded the second highest drop, falling 17,94% to 4 320,70. The country has been hit by weaker copper prices and a depreciated currency.

The Ghana Stock Exchange also closed in the red shedding 14.71%, while Kenya’s Nairobi Stock Exchange was 11,85% lower.

The International Monetary Fund recently said there are fiscal risks in the Ghanaian economy that need attention. A drop in oil production has also seen the economy record an annual fall of 2,5% in the second quarter of this year.

While Kenya is not much of a commodity exporter, it recently witnessed a bloodbath on its listed banking stocks following President Uhuru Kenyatta’s decision to sign off a law that caps interest rates on bank loans.

Other stock markets to record losses were the Malawi Stock Exchange (down 15,84%), the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (down 13,84%) and the Botswana Stock Exchange (down 2,57%).

The JSE and the Namibian Stock Exchange however closed positive, up 15,01% and 23.32% respectively in dollar terms.-Fin24

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