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Choppies chaos crashes BSE Domestic Company Index

Failure by Choppies Enterprise Limited a fast expanding pan-African retail giant to submit and publish audited financial results on time has crashed the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) Domestic Company Index (DCI) figures, resulting in 11.4 percent decline for the year 2018.

On the 28th September 2018; Choppies lost 76.3 percent of its value when the share price plummeted from P1.69 to P0.40 in a single day. On that day, its market capitalisation slumped from P2.2 Billion to P521.5 Million. The DCI is indicia that shows aggregate changes in market value on the basis of share prices. For the year 2018 DCI declined by 11.4 percent compared to a decline of 5.8 percent in 2017.

 Eight companies compared to 12 in 2017 registered positive price changes while 14 compared to 11 in the prior year registered negative price movements and four compared to 1 in 2017 closed the year with share prices back to their 2017 levels. A market status report for the period January –December 31st 2018 released by BSE this week reiterates that the impact of Choppies Enterprise Limited, arising from its failure to submit audited financials on time, on the decline in the total domestic market capitalisation and subsequently the DCI cannot be ignored.

“Due to this, Choppies contributed 41.2 percent to the decline in the DCI. In other words Choppies contributed negative 4.7 percentage points to the negative 11.4 percent decline in the DCI in 2018,” reads the report. Equity markets figures for the year 2018 depicts turnover levels drop of 25 percent when compared to that of 2017. The Exchange attributes this experience mainly to three events that occurred in the year and also in the prior year.

 These are the introduction of the minimum brokerage commission of 60 basis points (0.60 percent) in April 2016, the reallocation of investment mandates in 2018 by some of the largest pension funds in the country following termination of investment management contracts at two of the largest local asset managers and lastly the decline in share prices.

“Given the dominance of institutional investors both local and international in our market, the increase in transaction costs was definitely a sensitive issue particularly coinciding with a slowdown in corporate earnings as it effectively eroded their returns. Perhaps the suspension of Choppies could be an additional factor, given its liquidity in the market,” states the report.  Prior to its suspension from trading Choppies was the 4th most traded company on the BSE.

A further assessment of equity market Statistics indicates that majority of the listed companies recorded reduced earnings resulting in share price declines, but to the delight of the investors they maintained attractive dividend payouts closing the year at total dividend yield of 5.5 percent versus 5.1 percent in 2017.

BSE registers record high tradability and liquidity during 2018

On a positive note BSE closed the year 2018 on record high overall tradability and liquidity of listed instruments. A total turnover of P4.4 billion was recorded in 2018 compared to P3.2 billion in 2017. This information is also contained in the BSE market status report. The stock exchange discharged impressive performance on the capital market by raising a total of P3.2 billion locally in the bond market compared to P2.3 billion in 2017, mirroring an improvement of 39.1percent.

On the equity market, P296.8 million was raised as BancABC was the only company that undertook a public offer in 2018 compared to P575 million raised through public offers in 2017. Seed Co listed by introduction. For the Bond Market BSE trades it’s Index Series (BBIS) under a series of four bond indices being Composite Bond Index (BBI), Government Bond Index (GovI), Corporate Bond Index (CorpI) and Composite Fixed Rate Bond Index (BBIFixed).

In 2018, the BSE Bond Index Series (BBIS) appreciated by 3.2 percent whereas the GovI and CorpI registered returns of 3.5 percent and 3.3 percent respectively. The BBIFixed returned 2.6 percent since its introduction in April 2018. Inflation averaged 3.2% in 2018; meaning that listed bonds provided purchasing power protection, save for the fixed rate bonds. 10 Inflation in the year predominantly remained within the objective range of 3 percent-6 percent whereas interest rates were held constant throughout the year.

The value of bonds traded increased over four times from P535.6 million in 2017 to P2, 222.7 million in 2018. Government bonds continued to dominate liquidity of the market accounting for 97.9 percent of total turnover. The BSE registered a record number of new bond listings as 10 new bonds came on board compared to 8 in 2017. “This cushioned the impact of the 4 bond delisting in the year.

Even though Government bonds accounted for the majority of trading activity corporate bonds dominated in terms of the quantity of bonds listed, a phenomenon that in most African markets is the reverse,” explains the market status report. At sector level, the profile of the bond market at the end of 2018 was such that Government bonds accounted for 63.8 percent of market capitalization, Quasi-Government (1.3 percent), Parastatals (7.9 percent), Corporate (25.3 percent) and Supranational (1.7 percent).

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Banking on Your Terms: Exploring the World of Self-Service Banking

23rd February 2024

In today’s digital age, banking is no longer just about visiting a branch during business hours. It’s about putting you, the customer, in the driver’s seat of your financial journey. But what exactly is self-service banking, and how do you stand to benefit from it as a customer?

Self-service banking is all about giving you the power to manage your finances on your terms. Whether you want to check your account balance at midnight, transfer money while on vacation, or deposit cash without waiting in line, self-service banking makes it possible. It’s like having a virtual branch at your fingertips, ready to assist you 24/7.

This shift towards self-service banking was catalyzed by various factors but it became easily accessible and accepted during the COVID-19 pandemic. People of all ages found themselves turning to digital channels out of necessity, and they discovered the freedom and flexibility it offers.

Anyone with a bank account and access to the internet or a smartphone can now bank anywhere and anytime. Whether you’re a tech-savvy millennial or someone who’s less comfortable with technology, you as the customer have the opportunity to manage your finances independently through online banking portal or downloading your bank’s mobile app. These platforms are designed to be user-friendly, with features like biometric authentication to ensure your transactions are secure.

Speaking of security, you might wonder how safe self-service banking really is. Banks invest heavily in encryption and other security measures to protect your information. In addition to that, features like real-time fraud detection and AI-powered risk management add an extra layer of protection.

Now, you might be thinking, “What’s the catch? Does self-service banking come with a cost?” The good news is that for the most part, it’s free. Banks offer these digital services as part of their commitment to customer satisfaction. However, some transactions, like wire transfers or expedited bill payments, may incur a small service fee.

At Bank Gaborone, our electronic channels offer a plethora of services around the clock to cater to your banking requirements. This includes our Mobile App, which doesn’t require data access for Orange and Mascom users. We also have e-Pula Internet Banking portal, available at https://www.bankgaborone.co.bw as well as Tobetsa Mobile Banking which is accessible via *187*247#. Our ATMs also offer the flexibility of allowing you to deposit, withdraw cash, and more.

With self-service banking, you have the reins of your financial affairs, accessible from the comfort of your home, workplace, or while you’re on the move. So why wait? Take control of your finances today with self-service banking.

Duduetsang Chappelle-Molloy is Head: Marketing and Corporate Communication Services

 

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Business

Botswana records over P6 billion trade deficit

7th February 2024

Botswana has recently recorded a significant trade deficit of over P6 billion. This trade deficit, which occurred in November 2023, follows another deficit of P4.7 billion recorded in October of the same year. These figures, released by Statistics Botswana, highlight a decline in export revenues as the main cause of the trade deficit.

In November 2023, Botswana’s total export revenues amounted to P2.9 billion, a decrease of 24.3 percent from the previous month. Diamonds, a major contributor to Botswana’s exports, experienced a significant decline of 44.1 percent during this period. This decline in diamond exports played a significant role in the overall decrease in export revenues. However, diamonds still remained the leading export commodity group, contributing 44.2 percent to export revenues. Copper and Machinery & Electrical Equipment followed, contributing 25.8 percent and 10.1 percent, respectively.

Asia emerged as the leading export market for Botswana, receiving exports worth P1.18 billion in November 2023. The United Arab Emirates, China, and Hong Kong were the top destinations within Asia, receiving 18.6 percent, 14.2 percent, and 3.8 percent of total exports, respectively. Diamonds and Copper were the major commodity groups exported to Asia.

The Southern African Customs Union (SACU) received Botswana’s exports worth P685.7 million, with South Africa being the main recipient within SACU. The European Union (EU) received exports worth P463.2 million, primarily through Belgium. Australia received exports worth P290 million, while the United States received exports valued at P69.6 million, mostly composed of diamonds.

On the import side, Botswana imported goods worth P9.5 billion in November 2023, representing an increase of 11.2 percent from the previous month. The increase in imports was mainly driven by a rise in Diamonds and Chemicals & Rubber Products imports. Diamonds contributed 23.3 percent to total imports, followed by Fuel and Food, Beverages & Tobacco at 19.4 percent and 15.0 percent, respectively.

The SACU region was the top supplier of imports to Botswana, accounting for 77.7 percent of total imports. South Africa contributed the largest share at 57.2 percent, followed by Namibia at 20.0 percent. Imports from Asia accounted for 9.8 percent of total imports, with Diamonds, Machinery & Electrical Equipment, and Chemicals & Rubber Products being the major commodity groups imported. The EU supplied Botswana with imports worth 3.2 percent of total imports, primarily in the form of Machinery & Electrical Equipment, Diamonds, and Chemicals & Rubber Products.

Botswana’s recent trade deficit of over P6 billion highlights a decline in export revenues, particularly in the diamond sector. While Asia remains the leading export market for Botswana, the country heavily relies on imports from the SACU region, particularly South Africa. Addressing the trade deficit will require diversification of export markets and sectors, as well as efforts to promote domestic industries and reduce reliance on imports.

 

 

 

 

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Business

Business sector optimistic about 2024

7th February 2024

The business sector in Botswana is optimistic about the year 2024, according to a recent survey conducted by the Bank of Botswana (BoB). The survey collected information from businesses in various sectors, including agriculture, mining, manufacturing, construction, and finance, among others. The results of the survey indicate that businesses expect trading conditions to improve in the first quarter of 2024 and remain favorable throughout the year.

The researchers found that firms anticipate improvements in investment, profitability, and goods and services exported in the fourth quarter of 2023 compared to the previous quarter. These expectations, combined with anticipated growth in all sectors except construction and real estate, contribute to the overall confidence in business conditions. Furthermore, businesses expect further improvements in the first quarter of 2024 and throughout the entire year.

Confidence among domestic market-oriented firms may decline slightly in the first quarter of 2024, but overall optimism is expected to improve throughout the year, consistent with the anticipated domestic economic recovery. Firms in sectors such as mining, retail, accommodation, transport, manufacturing, agriculture, and finance are driving this confidence. Export-oriented firms also show increased optimism in the first quarter of 2024 and for the entire year.

All sectors, except agriculture, which remains neutral, are optimistic about the first quarter of 2024 and the year ending in December 2024. This optimism is likely supported by government interventions to support economic activity, including the two-year Transitional National Development Plan (TNDP) and reforms aimed at improving the business environment. The anticipated improvement in profitability, goods and services exported, and business investment further contributes to the positive outlook.

Firms expect lending rates and borrowing volumes to increase in the 12-month period ending in December 2024. This increase in borrowing is consistent with the expected rise in investment, inventories, and goods and services exported. Firms anticipate that domestic economic performance will improve during this period. Domestic-oriented firms perceive access to credit from commercial banks in Botswana to be relaxed, while export-oriented firms prefer to borrow from South Africa.

During the fourth quarter of 2023, firms faced high cost pressures due to increased input costs, such as materials, utilities, and transport, resulting from supply constraints related to conflicts in Ukraine-Russia and Israel-Hamas. According to the survey report, the firms noted that cost pressures during the fourth quarter of 2023 were high, mainly attributable to increase in some input costs, such as materials, utilities, and transport arising from supply constraints related to the Ukraine-Russia and Israel-Hamas wars. “However, firms’ expectations about domestic inflation decreased, compared to the previous survey, and have remained within the Bank’s 3 – 6 percent objective range, averaging 5.4 percent for 2023 and 5.4 percent for 2024. This suggests that inflation expectations are well anchored, which is good for maintenance of price stability,” reads the survey report in part.

However, firms’ expectations about domestic inflation decreased compared to the previous survey, and inflation expectations remained within the Bank’s objective range of 3-6 percent. This suggests that inflation expectations are well anchored, which is beneficial for maintaining price stability.

In terms of challenges, most firms in the retail, accommodation, transport, manufacturing, construction, and finance sectors considered the exchange rate of the Pula to be unfavorable to their business operations. This is mainly because these firms import raw materials from South Africa and would prefer a stronger Pula against the South African rand. Additionally, firms in the retail, accommodation, transport, and mining sectors cited other challenges, including supply constraints from conflicts in Russia-Ukraine and Israel-Hamas, as well as new citizen economic empowerment policies that some firms considered unfavorable to foreign direct investment.

On the positive side, firms highlighted factors such as adequate water and electricity supply, a favorable political climate, an effective regulatory framework, the availability of skilled labor, and domestic and international demand as supportive to doing business in Botswana during the fourth quarter of 2023.

Overall, the business sector in Botswana is optimistic about the year 2024. The anticipated improvements in trading conditions, supported by government interventions and reforms, are expected to drive growth and profitability in various sectors. While challenges exist, businesses remain confident in the potential for economic recovery and expansion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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