The Domestic Company Index (DCI) depreciated by 11.3% in 2016 to close the year at 9,400.7 points, down from 10,602.3 points at the end of 2015. The decline in the DCI in 2016 reversed most of the increase in the index in 2015 where it had appreciated by 11.6%, reveals the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) market performance report released this week.
The report shows that the decline in the DCI in 2016 followed a year in which the domestic economy experienced subdued growth which has consequently negatively affected the operational and financial performance of some of the listed companies. “On a quarterly basis, the DCI declined by 3.8% and 1.2% in Quarter 1 and Quarter 2 of 2016 respectively and the downward momentum continued in Quarter 3 and 4 with depreciation of 2.8% and 4.0% respectively. It can be noted from this trend that the depreciation of 11.3% was a result of the consistent and cumulative decline in the DCI on a quarterly basis.”
The BSE report further shows that all the other indices computed on domestic companies recorded negative growth. The Domestic Companies Free Float Index (DCFFI) depreciated by 16.7%, the Domestic Financial Sector Index (DFSI) lost 9.7% and the Domestic Financial Sector Free Float Index (DFSFFI) declined by 16.1%.
However, the Foreign Company Index (FCI) closed the year at 1,585.7 points, a marginal increase of 0.8% in comparison to a depreciation of 0.3% in 2015. The Foreign Resources Sector Index (FRSI), which tracks the performance of the mining and minerals companies, closely reflected the growth pattern followed by the FCI, as it grew by 1.1% in 2016 relative to depreciation of 0.4% in 2015. The mining and minerals sector is the largest component in the FCI, hence its noticeable influence on the FCI.
The report explains that the DCI’s decline of 11.3% in 2016 was attributable to the negative performance of the Retail & Wholesaling and the Banking sectors as well as the Financial Services & Insurance and the Information & Communications Technology (ICT) sectors. In aggregate, the four sectors contributed 15.8 percentage points to the depreciation of the DCI. The sectors that contributed positively to the DCI performance were the Property & Property Trust, Energy, Security and Tourism sectors with an aggregate contribution of 4.5 percentage points.
“Historically, the DCI has been heavily influenced by the Banking sector. However, the market capitalisation of the Banking sector relative to total domestic market capitalisation has declined from 46.9% in 2012 to 30.5% in 2016 primarily due to additional listings in other sectors as Retail & Wholesaling and ICT over the years. This has helped to reduce the reliance of the DCI on the Banking sector performance which is ideal given that the index should to a larger extent be representative of the overall performance of all companies listed on the Exchange.”
Other than the decline in the DCI, the BSE report shows that after registering a record turnover of P3 billion in 2015, the BSE realised a turnover of P2.5 billion in 2016. The average daily turnover for 2016 amounted to P10.2 million relative to P12.2 million per day in 2015. The volume of shares traded in 2016 was 778.0 million in comparison to 803.1 million shares in 2015.
“The decline in trading activity could be partly attributable to the adjustment of the brokerage commission structure in April 2016 that introduced a floor of 0.60% on commission charged by Brokers. The BSE will continue to observe the extent to which the change in brokerage commission will affect trading activity going forward, but is thus far of the view that this is not a prominent factor.”
The Financial Services sector contributed the highest to market liquidity on account of the liquidity ratio followed by the Retail & Wholesaling sector. The two sectors contributed 1.88% and 1.34% during the year under review. In respect of the number of shares traded as a percentage of the number of shares listed, the Financial Services sector led the pack as it traded 12.35% of the shares listed in that sector, followed by the Property & Property Trust sector at 9.13%.
According to the report, Letshego continued to dominate the liquidity on the BSE as its contribution to overall volume of shares traded (domestic companies) increased from 34.4% in 2015 to 42.3% in 2016. Other liquid stocks included New African Properties and Choppies which accounted for 20.8% and 12.7% of volume traded respectively.
In terms of investor contribution to equity turnover, the report reveals that local institutional investors (local companies) dominated trading activity in 2016. Trades by local companies accounted for 57.7% of the total turnover whereas foreign companies contributed 32.8% to total turnover in 2016. Local individuals registered an increase from 2.4% to 3.9% between 2015 and 2016 whereas foreign individuals recorded a decline over the same period to account for 1.2% of the turnover in 2016.
The Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) market was a mixture of good and bad fortunes with some ETFs showing improvement while others declined and one remains stagnated in terms of trading. The NewGold ETF which tracks the performance of gold performed well following a great year for Gold Bullion as its price increased on the London market.
The dollar price of the Bullion closed 2016 up by 7.3%, in comparison to the 11.0% dollar price loss in 2015. On the BSE, the price of the NewGold ETF increased by 1.8%. Further, the turnover levels of the ETF on the BSE rose from 265,452 units traded in 2015 to 1,019,934 units traded in 2016. Similarly, the value of the NewGold ETF traded increased from P30 million to P137.5 million during the same period. The ETF traded at prices ranging between P116.00 and P142.20 per unit on the BSE.
The NewPlat ETF which tracks the performance of platinum showed resilience as its performance also improved, registering a turnover of P73.0 million and recorded a volume of 688,628 units. The ETF traded at prices ranging between P97.00 and P112.50 a unit and appreciated by 8.1% in 2016 compared to a depreciation of 12.8% in 2015.
There was a decline in the performance of the CoreShares EWT40 ETF (previously known as BettaBeta) as it traded P588,504 from 15,521 units traded. This was a serious drop compared to the record annual turnover of P427.7 million generated from a total of 10.4 million units in 2015. The reduction in trading activity of the ETF was accompanied by 2.7% depreciation in the price of the ETF on the BSE. The ETF traded at prices ranging between P30.85 and P41.82 per unit.
The NewFunds Inflation-Linked Bond Index (ILBI) ETF which became the fourth ETF to be listed on the BSE in 2015 remains stagnated. The NewFunds ILBI ETF tracks an index that consists of Inflation-Linked Bonds issued by the South African Government. This ETF gives investors an opportunity to hedge exposure against RSA inflation because its returns always adjust with inflation. However, the ETF has not yet traded on the BSE. Notwithstanding, the NewFunds ILBI ETF returned 6.6% on the JSE during 2016 which could have translated into a 15.3% return on the BSE.
The BSE market report also shows that in 2016, the BBI (a Composite Bond Index) appreciated by 6.1% whereas the GovI (a Government Bond Index) and CorpI (a Corporate Bond Index) registered returns of 6.1% and 6.2% respectively, adding that this was mainly on account of adjustments to the bond yields on government bonds partly due to the reduction of the policy rate.
The 3 indices have all outperformed the monthly average inflation rate of 2.8% during 2016. However, the report says activity in the bond market experienced a decline in 2016 when compared to 2015. The value of bonds traded declined from P858.0 million in 2015 to P483.8 million in 2016. On the brighter side, there was some trading of corporate bonds in 2016 (P37.2 million). This was an improvement when compared to 2015 where corporate bonds had not traded at all.
After a rough year marked by the decline in share prices of blue chip stocks, and subsequent decline of the DCI, the BSE’s domestic companies’ market capitalisation stood at P46.6 billion as at the end of 2016, in comparison to P50.2 billion in 2015, a reduction of 7.3%. As a result, the ratio of market capitalisation to GDP decreased to 29.6% in 2016 from 34.3% in 2015.
Similarly, the ratio of turnover to market capitalization declined from 6.3% in 2015 to 5.2% in 2016. Furthermore, the report reveals that the MSCI Emerging Markets index (MSCI EM) outperformed the other three indices during 2016. The MSCI EM appreciated by 8.6% in 2016. On the other hand, the DCI lost 11.3% while the Johannesburg Sock Exchange All Share Index (JSE ALSI) and the Mauritius Stock Exchange (SEMDEX) lost 0.1% each.
This century is always looking at improving new super high speed technology to make life easier. On the other hand, beckoning as an emerging fierce reversal force to equally match or dominate this life enhancing super new tech, comes swift human adversaries which seem to have come to make living on earth even more difficult.
The recent discovery of a pandemic, Covid-19, which moves at a pace of unimaginable and unpredictable proportions; locking people inside homes and barring human interactions with its dreaded death threat, is currently being felt.
Member of Parliament for Kanye North, Thapelo Letsholo has cautioned Government against excessive borrowing and poorly managed debt levels.
He was speaking in Parliament on Tuesday delivering Parliament’s Finance Committee report after assessing a motion that sought to raise Government Bond program ceiling to P30 billion, a big jump from the initial P15 Billion.
Government Investment Account (GIA) which forms part of the Pula fund has been significantly drawn down to finance Botswana’s budget deficits since 2008/09 Global financial crises.
The 2009 global economic recession triggered the collapse of financial markets in the United States, sending waves of shock across world economies, eroding business sentiment, and causing financiers of trade to excise heightened caution and hold onto their cash.
The ripple effects of this economic catastrophe were mostly felt by low to middle income resource based economies, amplifying their vulnerability to external shocks. The diamond industry which forms the gist of Botswana’s economic make up collapsed to zero trade levels across the entire value chain.
The Upstream, where Botswana gathers much of its diamond revenue was adversely impacted by muted demand in the Midstream. The situation was exacerbated by zero appetite of polished goods by jewelry manufacturers and retail outlets due to lowered tail end consumer demand.
This resulted in sharp decline of Government revenue, ballooned budget deficits and suspension of some developmental projects. To finance the deficit and some prioritized national development projects, government had to dip into cash balances, foreign reserves and borrow both externally and locally.
Much of drawing was from Government Investment Account as opposed to drawing from foreign reserve component of the Pula Fund; the latter was spared as a fiscal buffer for the worst rainy days.
Consequently this resulted in significant decline in funds held in the Government Investment Account (GIA). The account serves as Government’s main savings depository and fund for national policy objectives.
However as the world emerged from the 2009 recession government revenue graph picked up to pre recession levels before going down again around 2016/17 owing to challenges in the diamond industry.
Due to a number of budget surpluses from 2012/13 financial year the Government Investment Account started expanding back to P30 billion levels before a series of budget deficits in the National Development Plan 11 pushed it back to decline a decline wave.
When the National Development Plan 11 commenced three (3) financial years ago, government announced that the first half of the NDP would run at budget deficits.
This as explained by Minister of Finance in 2017 would be occasioned by decline in diamond revenue mainly due to government forfeiting some of its dividend from Debswana to fund mine expansion projects.
Cumulatively since 2017/18 to 2019/20 financial year the budget deficit totaled to over P16 billion, of which was financed by both external and domestic borrowing and drawing down from government cash balances. Drawing down from government cash balances meant significant withdrawals from the Government Investment Account.
The Government Investment Account (GIA) was established in accordance with Section 35 of the Bank of Botswana Act Cap. 55:01. The Account represents Government’s share of the Botswana‘s foreign exchange reserves, its investment and management strategies are aligned to the Bank of Botswana’s foreign exchange reserves management and investment guidelines.
Government Investment Account, comprises of Pula denominated deposits at the Bank of Botswana and held in the Pula Fund, which is the long-term investment tranche of the foreign exchange reserves.
In June 2017 while answering a question from Bogolo Kenewendo, the then Minister of Finance & Economic Development Kenneth Mathambo told parliament that as of June 30, 2017, the total assets in the Pula Fund was P56.818 billion, of which the balance in the GIA was P30.832 billion.
Kenewendo was still a back bench specially elected Member of Parliament before ascending to cabinet post in 2018. Last week Minister of Finance & Economic Development, Dr Thapelo Matsheka, when presenting a motion to raise government local borrowing ceiling from P15 billion to P30 Billion told parliament that as of December 2019 Government Investment Account amounted to P18.3 billion.
Dr Matsheka further told parliament that prior to financial crisis of 2008/9 the account amounted to P30.5 billion (41 % of GDP) in December of 2008 while as at December 2019 it stood at P18.3 billion (only 9 % of GDP) mirroring a total decline by P11 billion in the entire 11 years.
Back in 2017 Parliament was also told that the Government Investment Account may be drawn-down or added to, in line with actuations in the Government’s expenditure and revenue outturns. “This is intended to provide the Government with appropriate funds to execute its functions and responsibilities effectively and efficiently” said Mathambo, then Minister of Finance.
Acknowledging the need to draw down from GIA no more, current Minister of Finance Dr Matsheka said “It is under this background that it would be advisable to avoid excessive draw down from this account to preserve it as a financial buffer”
He further cautioned “The danger with substantially reduced financial buffers is that when an economic shock occurs or a disaster descends upon us and adversely affects our economy it becomes very difficult for the country to manage such a shock”