Fred Razak, Chief Strategist at CMTrading,

Johannesburg, 25 March 2023: Once hailed as the unrivalled beacon of African commerce, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) finds itself grappling with a tide of change. While global indices experience listing booms, the JSE appears to be receding into the shadows. Despite this retreat, stalwart entities such as Naspers, MTN, Vodacom, and Richemont continue to maintain their presence. Fred Razak, Chief Trading Strategist for CMTrading, offers insights into the JSE’s trajectory, international perceptions, and navigational cues for the local exchange’s future.

Perceptions from Abroad

“To international investors, the fate of the JSE and South Africa are intertwined. The allure of JSE investments hinges on the nation’s economic robustness and infrastructural prowess,” says Razak. “Hence, paramount concerns revolve around the country’s economic stability and infrastructural capacity.

“The repercussions of governmental policies echo across the entire economic landscape, impacting the JSE with stagnation and delistings,” he observes.

Individual Company Prospects

“Amidst this milieu, certain JSE-listed firms weather the storm, maintaining profitability despite the nation’s precarious outlook. However, they are not immune to the ripple effects of a weakened rand and faltering infrastructure.

“When international investment firms opt to invest in entities like Naspers, MTN, or First Rand, their investments are denominated in the local currency. Therefore, safeguarding against currency depreciation is paramount to ensuring favourable returns.  Any decline in the local currency vis-à-vis the investor’s currency erodes potential gains, underscoring the profound impact of economic conditions and currency performance on foreign investment,” adds Razak.

Deciphering the JSE’s Contraction

“Delisting from public trading isn’t always a reflection of economic woes; there’s a multitude of reasons, from a desire for greater autonomy to evasion of public scrutiny or hostile takeovers. However, I remain cautiously optimistic that the JSE’s allure will persist. The crux of the long-term challenge lies in addressing South Africa’s economic woes.”

“If South Africa aims to reverse the JSE’s diminishing stature, the impetus lies squarely with the government. It’s a multifaceted endeavour encompassing infrastructural development, unemployment reduction, educational investment, and, above all, credibility,” Razak emphasizes.

“Africa, as a whole, presents a compelling investment landscape. Countries on the continent are thriving not solely due to natural resources but primarily due to elevating their human capital. The emergence of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) exemplifies Africa’s growing significance in the global economic arena. With BRICS nations eyeing Africa for investment and trade opportunities, particularly China’s Belt and Road Initiative, the continent’s economic potential is garnering international attention. South Africa’s pivotal role within BRICS underscores its importance as a gateway to the African market.

“For South Africa to thrive, it must heed this call to action,” Razak concludes, “Harnessing its potential as a hub for investment, innovation, and economic growth.”


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