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Kenya: How to Reverse Kenya’s Stock Market Losses

Kenya’s stock market no longer too prolonged ago suffered steep losses, making it the worst performing globally. The frail performance has continued: the Nairobi Securities Alternate 20-share index stood at about 1420 on 10 November 2023, having fallen from 1509 on 29 September 2023, a tumble of 6% over the six-week interval. In better days, the index has risen above the psychological 5000 impress: as an instance, it became 5491 on 23 February 2015.

The stock market issues for the Kenyan public for several causes. First, up to 70% of the retirement financial savings of Kenyans also can merely be invested within the stock market. So the market’s weak point could presumably possibly inhibit retirement funds from assembly their pension responsibilities. Second, many Kenyan firms expend the stock market to raise capital and frail market performance discourages them from doing so.

Given these advantages, it is a necessity to snatch causes for stock market cost fluctuations. Right here, I talk about some that it is doubtless you’ll presumably possibly presumably also imagine causes for the market’s snide performance and counsel that it is doubtless you’ll presumably possibly presumably also imagine programs to reverse the pattern.

What strikes markets

Stock costs transfer in line with unique info that conveys signals regarding the dangers confronted by investors. The unique info also can merely be one thing that an investor has uncovered, or that is identified by firm insiders (though shopping and selling on that info is in general illegal), or that is announced publicly by an authority like the central financial institution.

Unique info also can merely be about one thing abnormal to the firm, or one thing that affects the total market. Unique info about a firm usually affects the firm’s impress with out affecting the market index. Nonetheless, in runt markets comparable to Kenya’s, the build the market index also can merely replicate the presence of about a shiny firms (comparable to Safaricom and KCB), adjustments within the worth of 1 company’s stock also can merely trigger a noticeable alternate on the index cost.

What ails Kenya’s stock market?

A wanted chance part that affects the total market is sovereign (country) chance. Sovereign chance also can merely be accountable for the power selling off of shares by world investors at the Nairobi bourse in most unusual months.

When there are extra investors selling shares than these willing to aquire, share costs, and the market index, tumble. Right here is because sellers ought to lower their costs to entice the few merchants. In 2022, Kenya’s world investors sold about US$158 million (KES 24 billion) worth of shares, a slight bit lower than the US$191 million recorded during 2020.

The sell-off also can merely conceal deep-seated political disorders affecting Kenya’s economic system. These consist of fears of that it is doubtless you’ll presumably possibly presumably also imagine instability put up-2022 presidential elections. The country has previously skilled election related violence.

The sell-off could presumably possibly also talk to economic factors. For occasion, when US curiosity charges gain bigger, as they luxuriate in got, world investors are inclined to drag their cash out of creating markets and invest it in US debt markets, a phenomenon known as flight to quality.

Indeed, anecdotal proof suggests that emerging stock markets slumped to their lowest between March and September 2023 pushed by expectations that US curiosity charges would live excessive.

Third, the stock market jitters also can merely be explained by the weakening Kenyan shilling. For world investors, investing in a Kenyan stock technique taking a chance on each and each the stock and the worth of the Kenyan shilling. If the shilling falls in cost relative to the investor’s home foreign money (like the US buck), it goes to also merely wipe out your total beneficial properties on the stock and trigger the investor to lose cash.

The Kenya shilling misplaced 21% of its cost between 13 September 2022 and 10 November 2023. This has been largely attributed to capital flight and lowered inflow of foreign currencies due to the low cost of exports.

Then there’s Kenya’s burgeoning public debt. It be the rooster-and-egg legend: a falling shilling will enhance the burden of debt owed to outdoors lenders. And the rising cost of servicing debt in a foreign currencies will enhance the provision of the shilling within the foreign money markets, weakening it additional.

In an are attempting to stem the glide within the shilling’s cost, abet home inflation in test, and answer to rising US curiosity charges, Central Bank of Kenya, like its counterparts globally, has chosen to ban cash present.

Consequently, the central financial institution price, a policy curiosity price that guides home mortgage pricing, has elevated from 7% in March 2022 to 10.5% in November 2023. When curiosity charges rise, returns (yields) on debt resources like bonds also rise, making them extra exquisite than stocks. This induces investors to transfer their cash from stocks to bonds, inflicting a decline in stock costs.


A wanted most unusual constructing is the enactment of Kenya’s Finance Act in June 2023. The Act imposes unique taxes and tax will enhance. The World Bank has warned that elevated taxation also can merely discourage investment and gain bigger unemployment.

So there’s an expectation of weaker economic performance and, concomitantly, weaker firm performance (due, as an instance, to lower product quiz). The expectation of weaker firm performance causes investors to await lower future cash flows (like dividends), which is reflected in lower firm valuations this day.

Expectations about public debt also matter for companies. Kenya is anticipated to borrow extra, which could gain bigger curiosity charges on authorities debt, making it extra profitable for banks to lend to the authorities than to the internal most sector. Reduced internal most sector lending discourages internal most investments and lowers firm valuations.

What ought to be carried out?

There’s no such thing as a swiftly fix to a stock market crumple. Even supposing stock market performance also can merely be pushed by sentiment within the short speed, it is extra important to narrate prolonged-term.

There’s a shut relationship between the broader economic system and the stock market. So, as a finance student, I provide absolute most practical one recommendation: diversify and grow the economic system.

There’s for certain proof of the prolonged-term economic order advantages of investing in human capital, boosting a country’s entrepreneurial orientation and investing in infrastructure. To grow the economic system, therefore, the authorities’s policymakers also can merely aloof arrangement from such proof.

Importantly, the luxuriate in to give a boost to the country’s institutions has never been stronger. This can luxuriate in the pause of bettering governance and accountability as effectively as investor self belief. With such actions, the stock market wants no intervention.

Odongo Kodongo, Associate professor, Finance, University of the Witwatersrand

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