The Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) ended September 2017 with the market index at 2326.09, representing a year-to-date (YTD) change of 37.71%, compared to -11.03% in the same period of 2016. The GSE Financial Stocks Index, which tracks the performance of financial stocks, settled at 2043.5, representing a YTD change of 32.23%, as compared to -12.82% at the end of September 2016. This strong growth is a result of improved economic activities, with GDP (including oil) for the first quarter of 2017 growing 6.6% year-on-year, up from 4.4% growth in the same period of 2016. Falling fixed-income yields made the equities market an attractive alternative for investment.
Market capitalisation as of September 2017 stood at GHS58bn ($15.9bn), representing a YTD change of 10.68%, compared to -7.23% for the same period in 2016. The mining sector recorded a total capitalisation of GHS40bn ($9.6bn), or 69% of the market, making it the largest contributor to overall market capitalisation, followed by the financial services industry, at GHS12.76bn ($3.1bn), or 21.85% . Tullow Oil, one of Africa’s leading oil firms, was the largest market contributor at GHS24bn ($5.7bn), or 41.75%.
Trade volumes grew by 161% to 285.4m shares at the end of September 2017 as a result of positive market sentiment, up from 109.4m shares in the same period in 2016. The financial sector recorded the highest number of shares traded YTD at the end of September 2017, with a total of 230.7m shares, or 80.84% of the total volume traded. The value of traded shares grew by 104% to GHS443.1m ($106.1m) at the end of September 2017, up from GHS217.1m ($52m) at the end of the same period in 2016. The financial sector recorded the highest value of trading, with GHS319.9m ($76.6m) worth of shares traded, representing 72.21% of the total value, largely as a result of a block trade in the first quarter of 2017.
In the third quarter of 2017 the stock market experienced a regulatory shake-up with the delisting of UT Bank, after it was declared insolvent by the central bank which – together with Capital Bank – had their licences revoked. Their deposits, liabilities and selected assets were acquired by Ghana Commercial Bank, which became the largest bank by assets. There were suspensions for African Champion Industries, Clydestone (Ghana) Limited (CGL), Golden Web, Pioneer Kitchenware Limited (PKL), Transaction Solutions Ghana Limited (TRANSOL) and Cocoa Processing Company Limited (CPCL) for failing to meet the listing obligation of reporting their financial statements. PKL, TRANSOL and CGL’s suspensions were lifted after they rectified these breaches, while CPCL’s is still in force, according to the latest available press reports. In the first three quarters of 2017 the GSE outperformed the S&P All Sub-Saharan Africa ex-South Africa Index, which serves as a comprehensive benchmark for the sub-Saharan Africa region, excluding South Africa and registered a change of 19.1%. The Nigerian Stock Exchange All Share Index and the Nairobi Stock Exchange All Share Index, both as of the end of September 2017, meanwhile posted YTD changes of 31.87% and 21.65%, respectively.
With the government likely to continue with its debt management objectives, yields in the money markets are expected to continue to fall. Profit taking on some equities, as a result of a price rise, might result in a market momentum slowdown in the fourth quarter of 2017. Nevertheless, strong performance on the equity market is expected in 2018 as a result of forecast real GDP growth of 8.9% in 2018 and low yields in the money markets, as investors turn to the equity market for higher returns. With the announcement of the new GHS400m ($95.8m) capital requirements for banks, which should take effect in December 2018, increased activity in the financial sector is anticipated, as financial institutions turn to the equity market to raise the necessary capital. Overall, the outlook for the country’s stock exchange in 2018 looks bright.