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Overall, African equity markets started 2021 on the right foot. Most markets posted positive returns for the first week of the year.


South Africa leads the pack, its benchmark index closing on Friday at an all-time high of 63,519.18 points. The JSE all-share gained for a fifth straight session, closing above 63,000 points for a second day, with the banking and financial indices doing much of the heavy lifting. It is up 6.92% so far this year. JSE’s market cap amounts to ZAR 16.39tn (USD 1.06tn).

 

 

Other major markets that have started the year in green territory are Kenya and Egypt which advanced 1.36% and 0.99%, respectively. The East African bourse was lifted by a strong start of Safaricom stocks that reached an all-time high of KES 35 a share. The counter is up 2.19% so far this year, with a market cap of KES 1,402bn (USD 12.8bn). It represents 60% of the Kenyan equity market. In Egypt, strong momentum in the shares of the fintech company, Fawry lifted the market. Indeed, the fourth-largest company by market capitalization is already up by 14.74% so far this year and is now valued at EGP 27.2bn (USD 1.74bn).


On the opposite, momentum on 2020 best performing African markets did not continue through 2021. Both Zimbabwe Stock Exchange and the Nigerian Stock Exchange retreated during the week. The ZSE ASI even shed more than 5%. The NGSE lost a mere 0.37% over the 5-day period. Their market capitalizations stand at ZWL 298.6bn (USD 3.65bn), and NGN 20,984tn (USD 55bn), respectively. 


The BRVM is the worst performer of the week. The West African bourse’s composite index dropped 6.16% since the start of the year on the back of losses in 8 of the top 10 companies by market capitalization. Banks, in particular, such as NSIA Banque CI, Ecobank Côte d’Ivoire, and BICICI dropped significantly, losing 19.83%, 17.84% and 10.18% respectively. Sonatel, which rallied in December has shed 8.40% since its December 17th high of 13,865.

 

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