This is not a paywall.

Register for free to continue reading.

We made a promise to you that we’ll never erect a paywall and we intend to keep that promise. We also want to continually improve your reading experience and you can help us do that by registering with us. It’s quick, easy and will cost you nothing.

Nearly there! Create a password to finish up registering with us:

Please enter your password or get a login link if you’ve forgotten

Open Sesame! Thanks for registering.

First Thing, Daily Maverick's flagship newsletter

Join the 230 000 South Africans who read First Thing newsletter.

We'd like our readers to start paying for Daily Maverick

More specifically, we'd like those who can afford to pay to start paying. What it comes down to is whether or not you value Daily Maverick. Think of us in terms of your daily cappuccino from your favourite coffee shop. It costs around R35. That’s R1,050 per month on frothy milk. Don’t get us wrong, we’re almost exclusively fuelled by coffee. BUT maybe R200 of that R1,050 could go to the journalism that’s fighting for the country?

We don’t dictate how much we’d like our readers to contribute. After all, how much you value our work is subjective (and frankly, every amount helps). At R200, you get it back in Uber Eats and ride vouchers every month, but that’s just a suggestion. A little less than a week’s worth of cappuccinos.

We can't survive on hope and our own determination. Our country is going to be considerably worse off if we don’t have a strong, sustainable news media. If you’re rejigging your budgets, and it comes to choosing between frothy milk and Daily Maverick, we hope you might reconsider that cappuccino.

We need your help. And we’re not ashamed to ask for it.

Our mission is to Defend Truth. Join Maverick Insider.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

Investors Gorge on African Bonds, But They’re Dodging...

Business Maverick

Business Maverick

Investors Gorge on African Bonds, But They’re Dodging Its Stocks

Employees work at a computer terminal on the trading floor at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) in Lagos, Nigeria, on Tuesday, April 2, 2019. The International Monetary Fund said Nigeria’s economy was growing too slowly to reduce poverty or joblessness and urged the government to boost revenue and scrap its system of multiple exchange rates. Photographer: Ruth McDowell/Bloomberg
By Bloomberg
18 Jul 2019 0

African local bonds are on a tear as investors flock to riskier assets. But the continent’s stocks are missing out, despite being much cheaper than their emerging-market peers.

The AFMI Bloomberg African Bond Index, which groups the local-currency debt of eight nations including South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt and Ghana, has gained 6.3% in dollar terms since the start of May, around the time a dovish tilt by major central banks caused a surge in the amount of negative-yielding securities. It’s bettered the 4% advance of developing-nation local bonds overall.
Africa's local bonds are outperforming stocks

Carry traders have been particularly attracted to Africa. Egyptian-pound bonds, which yield 16%, have made total returns of almost 8% over that period, extending their gain this year to 25%. South Africa’s debt is up 6.9% since the end of April and Nigeria’s 4.7%.

But what’s good for bond traders isn’t necessarily so for equity investors. While the former focus more on the short term, looking for high interest rates and stable currencies, the latter want economic growth. Aside from Egypt, the fastest-growing country in the Arab world, Africa’s major economies aren’t providing much of it. South Africa’s output contracted the most in a decade in the first quarter, while Nigeria’s economy has been anemic since a crash in oil prices five years ago.

South African stocks have slumped 1.6% in local currency terms since April, though a rally in the rand means they’re up slightly in dollars. Elsewhere on the continent, investors aren’t being attracted by low valuations. Excluding South Africa, African stocks trade at a forward price-to-earnings ratio of barely 9, based on estimates for the next 12 months. Emerging- and frontier-market equities each trade at around 12.

Low valuations aren't enough for investors to buy African stocks

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted