|By Matein Khalid| I confess, I fell in love with South Africa’s Cape Town, though not its Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE). 2018 has been an annus horribilis for both the rand and South African equities, with 30% losses for a US dollar investor, the fifth worse in the emerging markets. The euphoria after President Cyril Ramaphosa replaced Jacob Zuma early this year did not last as South Africa succumbed to the big chill of emerging market contagion, shock waves from the US-China trade war, a tough love Powell Fed, King Dollar’s rampage against the rand, a $3.4 billion exodus from JSE listed companies by offshore investors amid angst over the $30 billion debt accumulated by state utility Eskom in the Zuma era which happens to be guaranteed by the government. In addition, the rand plunged 14% against the US dollar as the economy slipped into recession, factory orders, exports and gold prices fell. South Africa was also collateral damage on Brexit fear, Washington’s tariff threats, the French riots, the Italian budget woes as well as the fact that the domestic cyclical slump that coincided with a global economic slowdown and the recent carnage on Wall Street.
Also published on Medium.