Archive for the 'Bonds' Category

Rising debt tide threatens credit ratings across Africa

Credit quality across Africa has been declining, according to analysts speaking at a credit ratings event in London. Global rating agency Moody’s says the last 12 months saw 7 downgrades out of its 21 African sovereign ratings. Seven credit ratings are on negative outlook and only Morocco and Egypt are on positive outlook.
Several countries including South Africa stayed with high Baa3 ratings. South Africa has a Moody’s sovereign release date (updated on rating) on 12 October. Other rating agencies S&P and Fitch downgraded its local currency bonds to “junk” status, meaning below investment-grade, according to this story from Bloomberg. Namibia has Ba1 status, with a negative watch following an August review.
Zambia’s long-term issuer rating has been downgraded to Caa1 stable in July, below Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) which was rated B3 negative in June. Mozambique is rated Caa3 negative. Other countries which have seen rating downgrades are Angola and Kenya, while Tanzania and Cameroon are on negative outlook.
The bad news comes despite good growth in some parts of Africa. Key concerns are the ways governments manage fiscal policy, with elevated budget deficits and rising debt levels, after many governments issued large amounts of foreign currency bonds. Some countries which have borrowed heavily to invest into developing infrastructure face governance questions on whether prices are inflated – Zambia is particularly affected. Debt problems are worse because of local currency declines.
Investors into Africa at a Moody’s event in London on 26 September are also worried about global financial conditions and shocks, but are more confident on domestic politics.
Lucie Villa, Moody’s Vice President-Senior Credit Officer, commented that South Africa’s economy is likely to accelerate in 2019 but to remain timid, while recognizing the challenges faced by National Treasury meeting different fiscal and social objectives. Most foreign investors into South Africa use the ZAR currency.
Daniela Re Fraschini, Assistant Vice President in the Sovereign Risk Group, says East Africa remains the fastest-growing region, with Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania all forecast to grow well. Kenya and Tanzania are more resilient because their economies are more diversified. Rwanda has been consistently more competitive.
Rising oil prices could bring good news for Nigeria, Gabon, Congo and Angola.
Moody’s has increased its credit ratings from 31 to 51 African banks and Akin Makejodunmi, Vice President and Senior Credit Officer at Moody’s, says Islamic finance could double its share of the sector, from 5% to 10%, given that 40% of the population are Muslims.

For more on Moody’s credit ratings on African governments and many corporate issuers, see www.moodys.com

First African fixed income ETF listed in Mauritius, tracking bond index

The African Development Bank (AfDB) and Mauritius Commercial Bank Group (MCB) have launched the African Domestic Bond Fund (ADBF). The pioneer exchange-traded fund (ETF) is accessible to investors through its listing on 18 September on the Stock Exchange of Mauritius.

Sunil Benhimadhu, Chief Executive of the Stock Exchange of Mauritius submitted the Certificate of Listing of the African Domestic Bond Fund to Mr Stefan Nalletamby, Director AfDB FInancial Sector Development Department and Mr Rony Lam, CEO of MCB Capital Markets.


The ADBF fund will track the performance of the AfDB/AFMI Bloomberg African Bond Index 25%Capped, an index that comprises African local currency sovereign bonds of 8 African markets: Botswana, Egypt, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana and Zambia. It is intended that sovereign bonds of other countries will be included in the index in future.

It is the first multi-jurisdictional fixed income exchange-traded fund (ETF) in Africa. The Bank has committed $25 million and is acting as an anchor investor of ADBF. It was listed on Stock Exchange of Mauritius came on 18 September 2018.

Fund Manager is MCB Investment Management (MCBIM), a subsidiary of MCB Capital Markets. MCBIM is a pioneer of the pan-African fixed-income asset class, it launched the MCB Africa Bond Fund, an actively managed mutual fund focused on African fixed income, in 2014. The African Development Bank says the fund has consistently outperformed its benchmark.

The AfDB’s African Financial Markets Initiative (AFMI) aims to strengthen African economies by reducing their dependency on debt denominated in foreign currency (FX), increasing the range of available financing options, and acting as a catalyst for regional market integration.

According to the press release: Pierre-Guy Noel, chief executive officer of MCB Group, said: “We are delighted to partner with the African Development Bank in launching this pioneering fund. This attests to the Bank and MCB’s commitment to help develop the local currency fixed income markets on the continent and to the quality of our investment management capabilities. The fund listing on the Stock Exchange of Mauritius brings to investors the opportunity to access African government bonds conveniently.”

Cédric Achille Mbeng Mezui, Chief African Bond Markets & Coordinator of African Financial Markets Initiative (AFMI), said: “A key milestone has been achieved today with the listing of the first multijurisdictional Sovereign Bond ETF, namely the African Domestic Bond Fund (ADBF) on the Stock Exchange of Mauritius. Next steps: The dual listing on the Nigeria Stock Exchange and increased investment in this Fund.”

Recent Africa share listings news

London and South Africa
Old Mutual Limited, an insurance company founded 173 years ago, moved its main listing back to Johannesburg on 26 June and has dual-listings in Namibia, Malawi, Zimbabwe and London, as reported by Bloomberg and Moneyweb. Old Mutual plc terminated its listing on the London Stock Exchange on 25 June, and spun off UK wealth manager Quilter plc which was listed separately on the LSE (and dual listed on the JSE) the same day with a market capitalization of £2.75bn based on a £1.45 share price. It also sold its US asset manager and Latin American units as it believed each unit would be worth more separately. The “home-coming” was marked with a parade in Sandton and events in Malawi, Namibia and Zimbabwe. Old Mutual had moved its head office and primary listing to London in 1999, according to Reuters, but now its prominent riverside London head office is being wound down, with staff down from 120 to 40 in 2018.
The stock was listed in Johannesburg at ZAR28.50, valuing the company at some ZAR140bn ($10.7bn). According to Sanlam analyst Renier de Bruyn, quoted by Bloomberg, the share price did not reflect the hoped-for “value unlock” and Old Mutual was at an “attractive” price-earnings ratio of 7.5x, compared to 13x for its biggest South African rival, Sanlam. Bloomberg quotes Brad Preston, chief investment officer at Mergence Investment Managers Ltd: “Old Mutual’s strategy of trying to build a completely global business I think clearly has failed. We’ve seen them reverse that completely.” It bought United Asset Management Corp in USA for $1.4 billion in 2000 and Skandia AB in Sweden for $8bn in 2006. Between mid-1999 and June 2018 Old Mutual’s shares in Johannesburg returned 480% while Sanlam’s returned almost 2,000%. Sanlam had focused on African markets and reached 34 countries, including buying out remaining shares in Morocco’s Saham Finances SA earlier in 2018 for $1.1bn. Old Mutual is only in 13 countries.
Next step will be the unbundling of shares in Nedbank Group by about December 2018. Old Mutual owns 53% since it bought in under apartheid capital controls in 1986 and it is expected to reduce that to 19.9%.

London
Microfinance firm ASA International listed on the London Stock Exchange on 13 July. Its 85% shareholder Catalyst Microfinance Investment had partially sold half its stake by offering 40m shares at GBP2.24 each. ASA International was set up in 2007 and is one of the larges and most profitable international microfinance institutions, with 1.8m clients, particularly low-income and underserved women entrepreneurs. It operates in Asia (7)%) and in Africa (30% of clients, including in Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Nigeria, Ghana and Sierra Leone. It has 1,387 branches and employs 9,000 staff.

Mauritius and London
Grit Real Estate Income Group, a pan-African real estate company based in Mauritius and investing in 7 countries Botswana, Kenya, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Ghana and Zambia with plans for Senegal and the Seychelles, raised $132.1m through selling 92.4m shares at $1.43 each, before listing on the London Stock Exchange main board on 31 July. The new funds are for more investments in Mozambique and Ghana. Previously there were 214m shares listed in Johannesburg Stock Exchange and Stock Exchange of Mauritius. Bronwyn Corbett and Sandile Nomvete built the Delta International Property Fund from R2.2bn to R11.8bn. It became Mara Delta Property Holdings and was then rebranded Grit and the company headquarters moved to Mauritius, according to this 2017 interview in Finweek magazine.
Corbett commented in a press release: “”We are delighted to have successfully completed our Listing on London Stock Exchange and we are proud to be the first London listed pan-African real estate group”. Earlier she was quoted saying the African real estate sector “offers some of the best returns in the global property market. We have a proven track record of generating income from our selective and diversified range of assets, built through our close and detailed understanding of the region’s property investment environment. The listing will support our aim to grow our portfolio further and become the leading real estate owner on the African continent outside South Africa.” The share price was set at net asset value and the aim is to yield 12% a year in US dollars.

Nigeria
The Federal Government of Nigeria listed a NGN10.7 billion ($29.5m) FGN Green Bond 2022 on the Nigerian Stock Exchange on 21 July. It offered a coupon of 13.48% and aims to finance initiatives including solar plants and hydropower.

South Africa
Anchor Capital became the 9th listing on the A2X Markets on 19 July through a secondary listing. It was listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange’s AltX platform in September 2016 after raising ZAR60m ($5.4m) through an IPO.

Mobile phone app for trading on Zimbabwe securities exchanges

Investors can check their portfolios and send orders to their stockbrokers on their smartphones in Zimbabwe with an app called C-Trade from today (4 July). C-Trade is an online and mobile trading platform for shares on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) and the second licensed exchange, the Financial Securities Exchange (FINSEC).

According to an article in the Herald newspaper, C-Trade is for financial inclusion in Africa: “The platform will enable investors, both local and foreign to purchase securities from anywhere in the world anytime, using mobile devices. The initiative is being led by capital markets regulator, Securities Exchange Commission of Zimbabwe (SECZ), and seeks to promote financial inclusion by encouraging participation by the smallest retail investor.”

The Herald newspaper reported SECZ chief executive Tafadzwa Chinamo saying that President Emmerson Mnangagwa had agreed to launch the programme. “After that what you will be seeing more of is our campaign as SECZ to educate the public on what investing on the capital markets is about.”

“We have taken the issue of deepening and broadening the capital markets very seriously, to the extent that we added a new committee to our board of investor education.” In July 2017 Chinamo said SECZ had committed $300,000 to a campaign to get more people engaged in the capital market.

Escrow Systems headquartered in Zimbabwe has created the C-Trade programme to trade bonds and shares, using the same technology as Kenya’s world-first M-Akiba mobile Government bond sold on mobile phones to small investors in Kenya, from minimum denomination of $30. Here is our post on M-Akiba from October 2015 and a Reuters story on the eventual M-Akiba launch in March 2017.

According to a report in Newsday, Escrow Group chief executive officer Collen Tapfumaneyi said: “C-Trade is a mobile trading platform and is combination of a number of systems that enable investors to access the securities market or capital markets popularly known as the stock to enable people buy shares and all that. It comes in three forms, USSD application which can be utilised by mobile network subscribers. We have Econet and Telecel, but we are about to finalise with NetOne as well so within a few days all three will be on board,” It is not restricted to local mobile operators to enable foreign investors, including those in Diaspora.

Trading is still through a stockbroker, as before, says Chinamo of SECZ: ”This application is essentially sold to a stock broker to give the brokers clients access to the market. Rules of the exchange are still valid. For your trade to go through, it needs the authenticity of your broker so the broker is still liable for your trade, settlement, clearing and feed.”

The platform allows easier access for smart-phone users to manage their portfolios when they are away from a desktop/laptop.

Escrow is offering it on revenue-sharing basis to users with “minimal or no costs to market participants” according to an older news story in Financial Gazette.

According to an article today in Newsday, there are 13 licensed stock-broking firms in Zimbabwe, of which 3 signed up to use C-Trade. Escrow’s Tapfumaneyi said they were still talking about sharing fees: “C-Trade acts as an agent for the broker. The broker will still earn his full revenue according to the fee charged. However, the brokers pay a fee to use the platform which is negotiable.

“What we are basically doing is get business for them and they keep their traditional business. But, if we get people registering online and placing orders online, all that traffic is being channelled through to the brokers which then gets channelled to the exchange. So we are basically an extension of the brokers,” he said.

“These orders, when they come to the brokers, is also the issue of evaluation and trading is not just picking an order from a client and sending it through. You have got to analyse the market and advise the client what the pricing should be and all that. So we still have that interface.”

The target for C_Trade is about 20,000 individual participants by year-end and an ultimate goal of 2 million people.

London Stock Exchange financing African growth

African companies listed or trading on the London Stock Exchange have a total market capitalization of over $200 billion ($271bn), and in the last 10 years have raised more than $16 bn on London’s markets. The 108 African companies is more than any other international market, according to a press release from the LSE.

There are 9 African sovereign bonds listed in London, from: Gabon, Ghana, Namibia, Nigeria and Zambia

According to Tom Attenborough, Head of International Business Development, London Stock Exchange, in an LSE press release: “The success of Vivo Energy’s IPO is a strong statement of international investor interest in building exposure to Africa. As a London-listed company, Vivo Energy, will gain access to the world’s most international market, as well as an unrivalled source of deep liquidity and new investors.

“London is a strong partner to African companies seeking to attract international investment.”

Paternoster Square with London Stock Exchange at right (credit: Wikipedia)

  • Also this month, May 2018, Angola launched a $3bn Eurobond on LSE, the country’s biggest international bond and the first international issuance since 2015.
  • In April the LSE Group, the Nairobi Securities Exchange and non-governmental organization FSD Africa signed a memorandum of understanding to explore the launch of LSEG’s business support and capital-raising programme, ELITE. In May, the first Kenyan company, Olsuswa Energy, joined the programme. So far 850 companies have joined the ELITE programme.
  • In November 2017, the LSE, Casablanca Stock Exchange and the Bourse Régionale des Valeurs Mobilières (BRVM) signed an agreement to roll out ELITE across West African markets, in a signing ceremony presided by Amadou Gon Coulibaly, Prime Minister of Côte d’Ivoire.
  • In June 2017, Nigeria raised $300m through its first Diaspora Bond on LSE, a retail bond aimed at Nigeria’s global expatriate community seeking to invest in their home country’s development. It was the first bond of its kind from sub-Saharan Africa.
  • In March 2017, LSE published its first “Companies to Inspire Africa” report, identifying hundreds of the fastest-growing and most dynamic private businesses across Africa. Vivo Energy is the first company in that report to follow up by listing on LSE.
  • In March 2016, LSEG established an Africa Advisory Group, bringing together 12 distinguished business leaders, policymakers and investors from across Africa, to discuss the challenges and opportunities presented by the development of the continent’s capital markets.
  • In November 2014, London Stock Exchange Group and The Nigerian Stock Exchange signed a capital markets agreement to support African companies seeking dual listings in London and Lagos. The agreement followed the implementation earlier in 2014 of a unique new cross-border settlement process between the UK and Nigeria.
  • In June 2014, LSEG signed a strategic agreement with Casablanca Stock Exchange to share its expertise on the full exchange business chain, from listing to trading, and from clearing to settlement and custody with a commitment to position Casablanca’s capital markets and financial infrastructure as a regional hub.
  • In April 2014, Nigerian oil and gas group Seplat was the first Nigerian company to simultaneously dual list equity shares in London and Nigeria and raised $500m in an IPO.

LSEG market infrastructure technology, supplied by Millennium IT of Sri Lanka, is deployed in more 12 African markets, including Botswana, Casablanca, Namibia and Johannesburg stock exchanges.

Sub-Saharan Africa investment banking deals in Q1

Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in sub-Saharan Africa in Q1 of 2018 at $4.7 billion were 63% down on a year earlier, according to investment banking analysis for sub-Saharan Africa by Thomson Reuters, but there were $2.7bn in equity follow-on issues and $13bn in debt issues. Rand Merchant Bank topped the ranking of investment banking earnings, gaining $10.3 million, 9.3% of the total $117.6m earned during the quarter.

Completed M&A generated 20% and equity capital markets 37% of the total fee pool. Thomson Reuters says equity and related issuance was at its highest since 2007.

Fees from completed M&A totaled $23.4m, a 57% decrease year-on-year, while equity capital markets underwriting reached $43.1m, the best start since 2007. Domestic and inter-SSA M&A totaled $483m, down 81% year-on-year and the lowest annual start since 2006. Inbound M&A is down 73%, driven by the lowest number of deals since 2004, while outbound M&A is on a six-year high, up 91% to $1.6bn. Most (93%) of the outbound M&A was by South African companies, while acquisitions by companies headquartered in Mauritius accounted for 6% and in Seychelles for 1% respectively. Citi topped the financial advisor table for Q1 2018 for announced M&A with “any sub-Saharan Africa involvement” with 7% market share.

The biggest deal of Q1, according to Thomson Reuters, was Milost Global Inc’s US$1.1bn leveraged buyout transaction to acquire the entire share capital of Primewaterview Holdings Nigeria through its African subsidiary Isilo Capital Partners, announced on 10 January.

All the equity capital markets activity in the region was follow-on offerings, with 14 transactions. It is the first time there were no primary equity issues since 2012. The biggest was a follow-on offering by PSG Group, followed by offers from Sanlam and Lafarge Africa. Standard Bank Group tops the SSA equity capital markets league table in Q1 2018 with a 26% share of the market, followed by Investec at 12% and PSG Capital Ltd at 11%.

Sneha Shah, Managing Director for Africa at Thomson Reuters, said: “The most active Sub-Saharan Africa equity capital markets sectors for Q1 2018 were financials followed by materials, real estate, industrials, retail, and consumer staples.”

The most active debt issuer nation was Côte d’Ivoire with US$4.6bn in bond proceeds, 36% of market activity, followed by Nigeria and Senegal. Citi took the top spot in the SSA bond ranking for Q1 2018 with 24% market share. Syndicated lending fees declined, falling to $12.7m down 66% from Q1 2017. ING ranked first for syndicated loans.

Fees from underwriting in debt capital markets were $38.4m, the top value since Thomson Reuters started keeping these records in 2000, and up from $19.4m during Q1 2017.

AfDB and stock exchanges group ASEA sign MoU for capital markets projects

Africa’s leading financial institution, the African Development Bank (AfDB), is pairing with the African Securities Exchanges Association (ASEA) to deepen and connect Africa’s financial markets. The partnership aims to help mobilize more resources to drive growth.
The two will work on projects of mutual interest such as developing financial-markets infrastructure, introducing new products, improving market liquidity and participation, information-sharing and capacity-building. AfDB and ASEA signed a 5-year memorandum of understanding on 11 July. This provides “a collaborative framework for harmonizing and coordinating the efforts”, according to an AfDB press release.
The Bank and ASEA have already started successfully collaborating on the African Exchanges Linkage Project, which they co-initiated to improve liquidity and foster greater investments and trading across markets. This aims to link key regional markets and has proposed Casablanca, Johannesburg, Nairobi and Nigerian stock exchanges as regional hubs, according to project documents.

AfDB and ASEA Executive Committee delegation. (From left to right) Stefan Nalletamby (Vice-President for infrastructure, regional integration and private sector, AfDB), Geoffrey Odundo (CEO of Nairobi Securities Exchange), Oscar Onyema OON (CEO of Nigerian Stock Exchange), Akinwumi A. Adesina (President of AfDB), Karim Hajji (CEO of Casablanca Stock Exchange), Edoh Kossi Amenounve (CEO of BRVM) Photo: AfDB

AfDB and ASEA Executive Committee delegation. (From left to right) Stefan Nalletamby (Vice-President for infrastructure, regional integration and private sector AfDB), Geoffrey Odundo (CEO of Nairobi Securities Exchange), Oscar Onyema OON (CEO of Nigerian Stock Exchange), Akinwumi A. Adesina (President of AfDB), Karim Hajji (CEO of Casablanca Stock Exchange), Edoh Kossi Amenounve (CEO of BRVM) Photo: AfDB

AfDB President, Akinwumi A. Adesina says deepening and integrating Africa’s financial markets to mobilize domestic resources to fund African economies is very important to deliver the Bank’s “High 5s” priorities: Light up and Power Africa, Feed Africa, Industrialize Africa, Integrate Africa and Improve the Quality of Life of Africans (all part of the bank’s 2030 agenda for attaining the global Sustainable Development Goals – SDGs).
He says there are huge pools of capital available in sovereign-wealth, pensions and insurance funds and these can be used for developing Africa through appropriate intermediation and capital-markets products. He called for “increased mobilization of domestic pools of savings and support for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), as they constitute the bulk of Africa’s private sector.”
Adesina pointed to the bank’s progress in financial markets development through issuing and listing local-currency bonds in Uganda, Nigeria and South Africa. The bank has also created African Financial Markets Initiative (AFMI) to support domestic bond markets through the African Financial Markets Database. The bank will soon launch an African Domestic Bond Fund building on the success of the AFDB Bloomberg® African Bond Index, which started in February 2015 to combine the Bloomberg South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria and Kenya local-currency sovereign indices and was expanded in October 2015 by Botswana and Namibia..
ASEA President, Oscar N. Onyema, CEO of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, says the MoU will frame projects focused on the development of exchanges, deepening the stock markets and ultimately fueling African economic growth.

IFC raises N$180m bond in Namibia

Photo credit: Namibian Sun www.namibiansun.com

Photo credit: Namibian Sun www.namibiansun.com

The International Finance Corporation, part of the World Bank Group, has continued its programme of helping develop African debt markets by launching the first bond by a non-resident issuer in Namibia. It raised NAD 180 million (about $12m) which it will use for private sector development in the country. The bond yield is 9.812% per annum.

The 5-year bond is named “Namib” after the world’s oldest desert. The bond is part of a medium-term note programme registered with the Namibian Stock Exchange that allows IFC to issue up to NAD 10 billion (approximately $650m) in bonds in the domestic market. Standard Bank and IJG Securities (Pty) Ltd are lead managers for the bond issuance. IJG Securities is also the sponsoring broker on the transaction, while Standard Bank and Transfer Secretaries (Pty) Ltd are fiscal agents.

The bond is issued under IFC’s Pan-African Domestic Medium Term Note Programme, which was launched in May 2012 to support capital-market development in the region. The IFC has already issued local-currency bonds in Rwanda and Zambia, and 9 countries are part of the programme.

Jingdong Hua, IFC Vice President and Treasurer, said: “Deep, vibrant capital markets create access to long-term, local-currency finance for the private companies so they can get tailor-made financing for growth and expansion. The IFC Namib bond is an integral part of IFC’s strategy to support Africa’s capital market development and create access to finance for the region’s private sector.”

IFC supports local capital market development in Africa by working with governments, regulators and market authorities to put in place frameworks that encourage market entry by domestic and international issuers. IFC also supports African companies looking to access capital markets.

More recently, IFC launched a new capacity-building programme for African capital market regulators and practitioners. This is a partnership with the Milken Institute and George Washington University and will create a network of experts and advocates to support the region’s capital markets.

Ipumbu Shiimi, Governor of the Bank of Namibia, said: “Developing Namibia’s capital markets will be critical for long-term economic development, and especially for the expansion of the infrastructure and banking sectors. We hope that other international and domestic issuers will follow IFC and connect savings to Namibia’s private sector investment needs.”

IFC issues bonds denominated in local currencies in emerging markets as part of its regular programme of raising funds for private-sector development, and to support the development of domestic capital markets. In many cases IFC is the first, or among the first, non-resident issuer in a domestic market. IFC bonds are rated triple-A by Moody’s Investors Service and Standard & Poor’s.

Exchange trends from World Exchange Congress 2016

A couple of interesting statements from speakers at the excellent World Exchange Congress 2016, happening 22-23 March at Bishopsgate in London.

Exchanges – back to the information coffee house
Stu Taylor, CEO of Algomi: Fixed-income trading was dominated by banks who use voice trading and support it with their balance sheets. Most banks and their clients prefer this way and are not naturally going to switch to putting limit orders through the exchanges. We try to see how we can help with parts of the transactions, we worked first with the regulated Swiss exchange to put technology components at banks and that can help them sometimes with their trades, the exchange can help them find different counterparts, or with missed trades or, when they are struggling to complete a deal, the exchange can make suggestions. We suggest actions into the existing workflow, rather than trying to change the workflow. Exchanges can connect information sources so the exchange is the place to see what’s going, it can offer “bond dating”, trying to match buyers and sellers into a transaction.

Historically the technology focus for exchanges has been on execution, but now the innovation is that the exchange is about the information itself. Technology is shrinking the world, we used to talk about 6 degrees of separation in the world. Technology such as Facebook has made that number closer to 3 degrees of separation. Exchanges are back to the origins of exchanges as the coffee shops, finding a place to know someone who knows someone. Information and pre-trade are where the next waves of innovation for exchanges are going to come from.

Exchanges role in banks' bilateral bond trading, source www.algomi.com

Exchanges role in banks’ bilateral bond trading, source www.algomi.com

Can technology create liquidity?
Ganesh Iyer, Director of Global Product Marketing at IPC Systems: “Technology has become a facilitator of liquidity. Uber has no taxis but it provides taxi “liquidity”, Airbnb has no rooms but provides accommodation “liquidity”. Technology does not create liquidity on its own but it brings together market participants and that leads to liquidity. In the capital markets it can bring very diverse market participants together, for instance a mutual fund seller with a diverse “buy-side” community including hedge funds, retail, etc.

Move over-the-counter (OTC) trading onto exchanges
April Day, Director, Equities, Association for Financial Markets in Europe: “There is always a need for keep some balance, some trades are not suitable for exchange trading, there is still a time when investors choose to trade off exchange for reasons such as not wanting to share market information, reduce costs, less disclosure, etc.

Sergio Ricardo Liporace Gullo, Chief Representative EMEA BM&FBOVESPA; The Brazil market has reached a big harmony, we have survived many crises and we have a sophisticated system offered by the exchange which offers central clearing and makes all parties’ lives more efficient and offers better use of capital.

Keisuke Arai, Chief Representative in Europe of Japan Exchange Group: The Japaese experience is that it’s important for the exchange to strike the right balance between market efficiency and investor protection.

South Africa – politics affects the market, damaging savings and jobs

Pravin Gordhan (photo enca.com)

Pravin Gordhan (photo enca.com)

Stock exchanges act as a powerful and fast indicator of how the market and the business world view political initiatives. Many believe that the overall market has a wisdom that an individual policymaker or even a group of political leaders cannot expect to have. Of course political leaders are the ones elected and responsible to lead in the interests of the people, but the market is a very useful tool for quick feedback and possible corrective action.

Usually the signal is only given by plunging share prices or rising bond yields/falling bond prices (the same thing). However, last Sunday the Johannesburg Stock Exchange decided to spell out how policy decisions affect not just the stockbrokers, but the whole population, including hitting their savings, their jobs and their hopes. This came after President Jacob Zuma on 9 Dec appointed unknown David van Rooyen as Finance Minister in very dubious circumstances after sacking respected Nhlanhla Nene.

The revolt inside the African National Congress ANC and across the country was also strong. By Sunday night 13 Dec the National Treasury was back in what is seen as safe hands, with the reappointing of a previous minister, Pravin Gordhan. The ZAR currency gained on Monday, climbing back past ZAR15 = USD1, and reaching ZAR14.97=USD1 by this morning according to Reuters compared to ZAR14.43=USD1 before Nene was fired.

We reproduce a statement published by the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) and its CEO Nicky Newton King earlier on Sunday 13 Dec in full. It indicates how the market affects everyone’s welfare:

IT’ S NOT JUST THE NUMBERS – IT HURTS ORDINARY SOUTH AFRICANS
Says JSE CEO Nicky Newton-King

Johannesburg, 13 December 2015. South African capital markets posted significant losses and saw unprecedented activity following the announcement by President Jacob Zuma on the evening of the 9th of December to replace the Minister of Finance. Investors, ranging from individual retirees to huge pension funds, have seen the value of their holdings plummet. Businesses already under pressure now face increases coming from rising borrowing costs and a weaker Rand which devalued from R14.53 to R15.89 (9.36%) against the USD and from R15.94 to R17.45 (9.47%) against the EUR in the two subsequent days.

Thursday 10 and Friday 11 December 201 saw exceptional trading volumes across most platforms of the JSE:
• Average daily value traded in the Equity Market on those two days, at R47.8bn, was more than double the year to date average for 2015 (R19.9bn)
• Average daily number of trades in the Equity Market on those two days of 589 721 (both of which were record trading days) was more than double the year to date average of 246 338 trades
• The FTSE/JSE Financial15 Index (FINI) dropped 13.36% from 15 600 to 13 515
• The FTSE/JSE Banks Index lost 18.54% dropping from 6 556 to 5 340
• The FTSE/JSE All Share Index (ALSI) dropped 1 456 points in those two days, closing at 48 068 on Friday, down 2.94%
• The FTSE/JSE Top 40 Index shed 987 points over the same period, closing at 43 558 on Friday
• The entire market cap fell R169.6bn from R11.35tr to R11.18tr (1.49%)
• Activity in Equity Derivatives also peaked – value traded on 10 December (R51.1bn) was double that of the daily average of the year and on 11 December (R129.7bn) was 5 times the daily average of 2015
• In the bond market, the benchmark R186 started the week at a yield of 8.66% and closed on 10.40%. By contrast, on 29 January 2015 the yield was 7.055%.

Says Newton-King:

“While the JSE systems were able to handle this unprecedented activity, we should not just be concerned about the immediacy of market reaction but should be mindful of the longer term impact on the financial stability of our economy.

“Market losses put strain on credit extension and interest rates, and raise borrowing costs for companies and individuals. As cost of capital becomes more expensive, this in turn constrains the growth stimulus which we desperately need. The outlook for much needed job creation opportunities diminishes. And higher lending rates make everyday life more expensive for ordinary South Africans. Continued currency depreciation will have a profound impact on fuel prices and on inflation overall, which will hurt companies, small businesses, and individuals.

“We should remember that behind the daily statistics are the life savings of ordinary South Africans which are likely to be negatively impacted. This will put pressure on the ability of people to fund their health and housing requirements, their household budgets, their children’s education and their entrepreneurial aspirations.

“As individuals and as corporates we need to be aware of how we are impacted by the seriousness of this moment and take accountability for how we respond.”

Yesterday and today the markets started to recover. The banking index had fallen nearly 20% and on Monday climbed back 15% but then pared back gains to 8.7% by Monday evening. The yield on the benchmark 2026 ZAR186 government bond, with effects on all debt across the market, was down 101 basis points to 9.37% on Monday morning, but closed yesterday at 9.95% and this morning was at 9.87%, while the JSE’s All-Share Index was up 2% to 49,051.

Reuters reports Investec chief economist Annabel Bishop: “Finance Minister Gordhan has averted the rout, but the damage to sentiment cannot be repaired quickly, and South Africa will continue to suffer under it for quite a while.”

NOTE – PRIME EXAMPLE Markets reflect earnings prospects: It was fascinating to see how the “elephant bond” – Cote d’Ivoire’s previous Eurobond – adjusted its yields with every advance or retreat in the country’s 2010 civil war. It was eventually defaulted on in 2011 and resumed proper payments in 2012, with a very warm response given to the 2014 and 2015 editions, according to Euromoney.