The 4th Quarter kicked off controversially with Trumps speech at the UN General Assembly leaving African leaders still unsure about Trumps intentions in terms of a US – Africa relationship, instead Trump urged African companies to invest in the US, as well as asking for cooperation in fighting Islamic Extremists and the threat of North Korea. Keeping on with the political side of things Africa’s lead on Election technology might be seen as a positive not only for the accountability of results but a slowly improving political climate where competition and innovation will likely raise investor confidence in many parts of Africa where their economies are almost 100% sensitive to the political climates. For countries that are heavily dependent on Oil exports in Africa, we have seen them suffer greatly when oil prices plummeted. Congo was in the spotlight beginning of the 4th Quarter as the International Monetary Fund released data stating Congo’s public debt sitting at around $9.14 billion. The electoral commission in Congo also announced that the country will not have elections until mid – 2019 for polls that were originally scheduled for November 2016, President Kabila’s refusal to step down saw plenty lose their lives during the protests.
With an overall exposure of 0.79% to the mining sector in the AMIB50 fund the 7 week plunge in the price of gold didn’t cause much harm to us. Dollar strength and the continuous gain in US equities saw much pressure piled on the commodities, seeing prices fall to August lows at $1,274.90 an ounce. October also saw the Worlds powerhouses (Google, Facebook, World Bank to mention a few) bringing programmes to Africa that will contribute heavily in fueling Africa’s digital economy and connecting Africa’s tech start – ups to investors. Nigerian equities performed impressively during the month of October with a few of its major players releasing their earnings reports, one of the more impressive reports were from C & L LEASING increasing its earnings by 28%. The Nigerian Stock Exchange All Share Index moved from below 35 400 (03/10/17) to 36 680 (31/03/17), at some point during the month we hit the 37 000 mark.
Rwanda shared its fair spoils in some of Africa’s impressive performances during October with Moody’s announcing that the countries credit profile reflected good institutional strength , the government also released ambitious targets in their savings rate as they look to raise the savings rate from 10.2% to 20% of the GDP by 2020. More impressive data on the State was released with Rwanda’s economy showing signs of an upswing, despite the fall in commodity prices that saw Sub – Saharan Africa only produce growth of 1.3%, the country did an impressive 5.9% in tough conditions. Rwanda also released impressive Hotel Industry numbers this being a good indication of growth in their tourism sector, while Strawtec came through with a solution to Rwanda’s current housing crisis by announcing their new plan to offer affordable housing options to the people of Rwanda starting with the massive demand in Kigali city.
Egypt started of October on a low note with a terrorist attack in El Wahat Dessert , these typically reflect negatively in the share prices as well as the currency markets as this sort of threat leaves investors uncertain about the safety of their assets, the London Stock Exchange seems to have ignored this event all together as they sent influential delegates to look for new ways to support the Egyptian economy. The Egyptian Renewable energy market also saw a boost as EREN Renewable Energy and Access Power announced a successful deal after securing funding to purchase two solar PV plants in the Benban complex, this will create plenty jobs in the region / surrounding areas contributing positively to the economy as well as the environment (They will cut close to 100 000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year).
There was a lot of buzz around South Africa as all eyes were on newly appointed Minister of Finance Malusi Gigaba, all projections were pointing to a troubled South African economy and Malusi painted an even worse picture of the state of the economy. Shortly after his speech investors dumped out R 5.1 billion in a single day and we saw the rand weaken by 2% against the dollar. This however contributed to the JSE closing at record highs, this has nothing to do with the state of the economy and all has to do with the value of the Rand which is currently trading 14.13, A weak rand means the larger dual listed equities which earn majority of their income abroad earn more in Rands when the currency falls in value.
Other October Highlights :
Angola : Moody’s downgrade from B1 to B2 , Outlook changed from negative to stable.
Sudan : US lifts sanctions , South Sudan projected to be third largest oil producer in Sub – Saharan Africa.
Kenya : Low turnouts in Kenya election rerun.
About a week ago CNBC Africa released an article on which country might top the “Africa’s largest economy” list (ranked by GDP) , They forecast Nigeria topping the list again however due to the exchange rate, South Africa might just edge past them with an estimated GDP of $344 billion. With the dark cloud looming over South Africa’s economy the number 1 seat is not expected to be held for too long. The top ten includes the following economies :
1. South Africa