South African stocks suffer worst week since 2020

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South African stocks have felt investors’ aversion to risk more sharply than their emerging-market peers, sliding toward the worst weekly slump since October 2020.

Johannesburg’s benchmark FTSE/JSE Africa All Share Index ended Friday down 2.5%, deepening this week’s selloff beyond 6%. That’s a steeper retreat than MSCI’s index of developing country stocks, which is down about 4%.

Worries over Chinese demand have battered luxury retailer Richemont and miners like Anglo American Plc, while the global rout in tech stocks has pulled local giant Naspers lower. Gold and platinum producers have been among the biggest drags on the market this week as inflation concerns prompt investors to turn away from precious metals.

More than 90% of the South African benchmark equity gauge’s members were lower by Friday afternoon, helping to make it one of the three worst-performers globally this week in dollar terms among more than 90 major indexes tracked by Bloomberg. 

Concerns over rising interest rates have seen “market participants shun highly valued risk assets,” Unum Capital analyst Lester Davids said. 

The rand headed for its third weekly decline amid the worst bout of outflows from the nation’s bond market in two months, weighing on local banking stocks. The rand was trading at R15.98/$ on Friday evening.

An index of South African lenders has tumbled almost 7% this week, on track for the worst performance since March last year.

- With assistance from Adelaide Changole, Colleen Goko and Semakaleng Motsoere

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