Foreigners are pulling their money out of South Africa, JSE warns

The Johannesburg Stock Exchange has raised concerns about the capital outflows from South Africa, which has steadily increased over the last few years.

In a written submission to parliament on Treasury’s new tax bills, the JSE said South Africa’s macro environment has deteriorated over the past five years. All three global rating agencies lowered their ratings of South Africa’s sovereign credit standing in 2020.

As a result, South Africa has either exited key global indices or become severely diluted, it said.

“The effect of this negative macro environment has been significant net outflows in trading by foreigners in South African bonds and equities.

“It is our view that limiting the re-use of collateral will lead to a significant decline in liquidity in the South African capital markets, the diminished attractiveness of South Africa as an investment destination and further capital outflows.”

These concerns were echoed by JSE chief executive Leila Fourie who said that the rate of capital leaving the country is the one thing that keeps her awake at night.

Fourie told BusinessDay that South Africa needs to do more to make an investment case for the country,

“I sleep very well normally, but if something were to steal my sleep from me, it would be foreign flows,” she said.

“I am concerned about the disinvestment from SA, and I think as a country we need to do more to put out a positive narrative and to start to create a coalition of the willing between the public and private sector to try and crowd in more financial support and more inbound investment.”

South African stocks kicked off August on a positive note, rising to trade near their all-time high and joining global peers in rallying as some of the concerns over China’s regulatory crackdown eased, and progress on a US infrastructure spending plan aided sentiment, Bloomberg reported.

However, sentiment toward South African shares has proved temperamental as investors search for yields in emerging markets, with foreigners offloading an estimated R87.13 billion in stocks in 2021.

Foreign investors sold a net R125.6 billion worth of JSE shares and other listed instruments in 2020 when the local economy was in a deep recession and contracted by the most in recorded history, Citywire reported.


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Foreigners are pulling their money out of South Africa, JSE warns