As we move forward a look at the African stock markets amidst the contagion of the Sub prime Morgage crisis that emanated in the US might not be that rossy after all. The Capital Markets Authority did make a case for highly capitalized financial institutions and risk based supervision approach amongst other recommendations in view of the crisis.Business confidence did slide as most companies review their investment plans and strategies in 2009.
Global Financial Crisis
The year 2008 in global financial markets has been one of the most volatile since the 1930s.The last serious bear market originated in Asia in 1997, but this 2008 crisis originated in the US.
During 2008,emerging market currencies weakened against the US dollar as a result of
the rush to the US dollar and US Treasury instruments.Investors sought “safe havens”
and US Treasuries were considered the safest haven.
ILower Interest Rates
Recognising the severity of the credit crunch,in October major developed and
emerging central banks lowered interest rates in an unprecedented globally coordinated monetary policy effort.This was followed by the implementation of fiscal stimulus measures and loosening monetary policies from governments and central banks in developed as well as emerging markets. Thus far, more than US$1 trillion has been pledged by governments around the world to rejuvenate their domestic economiesincluding China, the US, Germany, the UK, Taiwan, Spain, Japan, South Korea,Russia, France, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia.
Fastest Growing Economies
It is expected that the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) economies to continue to be akey driver of global economic growth.They are among the fastest growing economies in the world. The four markets together account for more than 40% of the world population. Domestic demand growth also remains robust. Moreover, Brazil and Russia are resource-rich countries and although there has been a recent fall in commodity prices, the longer trend for commodity prices is to increase and these countries will benefit from global demand for oil, steel, aluminum, pulp and other commodities.China continues to take great strides towards becoming a major global player.
Capital availability is the key question for emerging markets in 2009.Those who have it should do well.As for those who don't - it may be better not to ask.
This year is not going to be easy for the developing world. Lower commodity prices and slumping Western economies will damage growth. But with the United States, Western Europe and Japan all in recession and unlikely to emerge quickly, whatever growth there is in the world - not much - will be concentrated in emerging markets.
Emerging Market stocks
Given the steep market decline, investors have begun to shift their focus to the
increasingly attractive valuations in emerging markets.
NSE Chairman alluded that assets at the NSE are highly unbdervalued due to the persistent bearish trends that have failed to attract investors amidst current inflation and increase in the cost of living. Most investors at the NSE are retail.Uncertainty in the global financial markets is also suspected to be fuelling the investors’ jitters, with the deepening recession putting into doubt the chances of a quick recovery of stock markets.
While it is believed that the longer-term outlook for emerging markets remains positive due to the relatively strong fundamental characteristics and faster growth rate than theirdeveloped counterparts, 2009 is expected to be challenging. We can expect more volatility in view of slowing growth and recession concerns in major world economies,volatile exchange rates and commodity prices, and a global credit crunch.
Investors should brace for lower returns in the first quarter of the year 2009.
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