Botswana capital stock market faces challenges

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An electronic screen shows the trading data at the New York Stock Exchange in New York, the United States, on Jan. 27, 2020. U.S. stocks ended significantly lower on Monday. The Dow fell 1.57 percent to 28,535.80, the S&P 500 decreased 1.57 percent to 3,243.63, and the Nasdaq dropped 1.89 percent to 9,139.31. (Xinhua/Wang Ying)
An electronic screen shows the trading data at the New York Stock Exchange in New York, the United States, on Jan. 27, 2020. U.S. stocks ended significantly lower on Monday. The Dow fell 1.57 percent to 28,535.80, the S&P 500 decreased 1.57 percent to 3,243.63, and the Nasdaq dropped 1.89 percent to 9,139.31. (Xinhua/Wang Ying)

Botswana’s capital stock market has experienced a 5.8 percent decline since January due to the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the CEO of the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE), Thapelo Tsheole.

Giving an update on the recent performance of the stock markets during a press conference on Thursday, Tsheole said the domestic company total return index had declined by 2.4 percent, while the foreign company index dropped by 0.8 percent.

The total value of shares traded in the market since January is about 3 million pula (267,000 U.S. dollars) daily, compared to 7.1 million pula (619,000 dollars) in 2019, which translates to a 60 percent decline in daily market trade activities due to the impact of COVID-19.

Tsheole said that holders seem to trade more in times of crisis in the bond market, which generally outweighs the equity markets, and that stock markets have in recent times seen business running as usual.

The foreign index participation in the local market, he said, stands at 150 million pula (13 million dollars), which translates to a 31 percent contribution to the turnover.

Tsheole applauded the government’s recent move to approve an increase to the government-issued bond from 15 million pula (1.3 million dollars) to 30 million pula (2.6 million dollars), saying it would enhance the BSE’s international status.

The BSE, he added, is currently engaging with the Bank of Botswana to discuss removing the bottlenecks that impede easy trading of government bonds in the stock market.

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