Tuesday, April 29, 2014

African Capital Markets - The Potentials & The Lost Opportunities.

Guest Post by:
BOAKYE OGYEM EMMANUEL. ( 0261528542 / ogyemb@yahoo.com)
A few days ago, I decided to research Africa’s capital markets, and to my astonishment I realized that most of these markets were very resilient to exchange rate fluctuations and the debilitating effect of inflation. These findings fascinated my imagination and re-oriented my negative stereotypical perception about Africa’s capital markets. However my greatest disbelieve dawn on me when I realized that the GHANA STOCK EXCHANGE (GSE COMPOSITE INDEX) far out-performed the S&P 500 of the UNITED STATE OF AMERICA in terms of dollar adjusted returns within the years of 1992-2013, this means that passive investors in Ghana within the aforementioned years were better off than their counterparts in the united States. The research choose 1992 as the base year solely due to two reasons, firstly it was the year Ghana declared democratic rule and entered into the 4threpublic, making its capital market attractive to foreign investors. Secondly, it marks the start of the longest bull market in the history of the United States, which spanned for almost 7yrs, between the years of 1992-1999. The Ghana stock exchange in the mist of significant macro-economic pressures such as ,an annual compounded cedi depreciation rate of 18.54%, unwarranted high levels of inflation in the 90’s and a sluggish economic growth amid lackluster energy sector , surmounted to become more profitable than the S&P 500. Now let’s move on to the number crunching that reinforce these assertions, in 1992 the GSE all shares Index traded with a value of 62.17, by the end of the year 2013 the value of the GSE COMPOSITE INDEX was 2,145.20 after adjusting the Composite index to the ALL SHARES INDEX which was previously used by market participants until 2010,we arrived at a value of 16313.66 for year 2013. This value reflects an annualized return of 28.90% for all investors who had invested during the aforementioned investment horizon. One may ask how do these numbers translate into millions of cedis for the average Ghanaian who had invested in the GSE within the 1990’s? the answer will be an enormous amount of wealth, if an investor had invested a sum of GH₵1000 on the exchange within the year 1992 he/she would have pocketed a whooping sum of GH₵266,418.3791 (the equivalent of 2.6 billion old Ghana cedi’s) by the end of 2013 , not convinced? then add a zero to the initial amount invested , that is if an individual had invested an amount of GH₵10,000 in 1992 for his kid or dream house , that individual would have now pocked almost GH₵2.66million new Ghana cedi (the equivalent of 26 billion old Ghana ), yes!!! The individual would have been a millionaire due to the power of compounding, and the resilience of a stock exchange that has triumph against the overwhelming odds of high inflation and significant exchange rate fluctuations. One amazing discovery is that many Ghanaians during this same period gave far more money needed to invest and achieve these sterling results to dubious connection men, in other to seek greener pastures outside the country. However, the returns from the exchange indicates that those who stayed behind and placed their bet on the stock exchange are now better off and perhaps “millionaires” relative to their foes who went outside for greener pastures. As a value oriented investor I deemed it necessary to determine if there existed significant value in stocks trading outside my home land , due to this I decided to compare the results of the GSE to the US dollar and the S&P 500 index. Thorough data gathered from renowned investment sites (CNN MONEY, BLOOMBERG DATA etc.) indicates that the S&P 500 started with a value of 262.79 in 1992 as at 31st December 2013, the index was trading at a value of 1813.036; this represents an annualized value of 9.1759% on a compounded basis. That means that if an investor had invested $1000 in the S&P 500 for the 22yrs period he/she would have pocketed an amount of $6,897.79 for year-end 2013. In order to reasonably compare these exchanges a dollar adjusted return for the GSE Composite index was computed to be an annualized 10.35% for the same investment horizon. However the S&P’S annualized gain was 9.1759%. Data used for the dollar adjusted return was acquired from Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia’s speech titled “RESTORING THE VALUE OF THE CEDI”. According to the article the cedi value against the US dollar during 1992 was at GH₵0.05208 (the equivalent of ₵520 old Ghanaian cedi), as at 2013 the value of the cedi was GH₵2.20 (the equivalent of ₵22,000 old Ghana cedi). This represents an annualized compounded depreciation rate of 18.55% which lags against the GSE index’s sterling performance. Finally, from the research it’s apparent that the GSE (GHANA STOCK EXCHANGE) has shown its superiority amid a turbulent exchange rate fluctuations, economic sluggishness and unabated inflationary pressures , to emerge as the best investment entity for the long term. Furthermore, it’s strategically positioned than ever before to produce sterling performance going forward, this can partly be attributed to increase positive inflow of FDI, strong economic growth fundamentals, stable political climate and copious oil /natural gas reserves. With all these positive factors looming in the long run, I think we should all start investing into the future to realize our unlimited gains in the stock market.
Source: (CNN MONEY, ANNUAL REPORT GHANA, REUTERS, ARTICLE FROM DR.BAWUMIA, WIKIPEDIA , INVESTINGAFRICA.COM)

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