HARARE (Reuters) – The market capitalisation for the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) fell by $1.27 billion and the main index shed 30 percent in 2015, as foreign investors sold shares and the economy slowed, data from the exchange showed on Monday.
The ZSE’s industrial index, the main gauge of activity on the bourse, stood at 114.85 points in December, down 29.6 percent from January as companies reported weak earnings due to power shortages and depressed domestic demand.
Market capitalisation for the industrial index, which stood at $4.37 billion in January last year, fell 30 percent to $3.1 billion in December and is now half its historical peak reached in July 2013.
The total value of shares traded on the ZSE last year was $228.6 million, a decline from $453 million in 2014.
Foreign investors bought $125 million worth of the shares compared to $287 million the previous year.
Foreign investors prefer shares in large consumer-oriented firms such as mobile phone service provider Econet Wireless, brewer SABMiller’s local unit Delta and food retailer Innscor.
“We will see this trend continue this year as we expect the economy to weaken further and the sell-off by foreign investors will likely continue,” a trader with a local stock broking firm said.
The government has projected a 2.7 percent growth in 2016 from 1.5 this year, but economic analysts say a looming drought will hit agriculture production while low commodity prices will result in lower mineral export earnings.
(Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe; Editing by James Macharia)