The falling rand will hit us hard, warns JSE CEO

The continued weakening of the rand will have a profound impact on ordinary South Africans, JSE CEO Nicky Newton-King warned on Sunday.

She said in a statement that South African capital markets posted significant losses and saw unprecedented activity after Nhlanhla Nene was fired as finance minister.

“While the JSE systems were able to handle this unprecedented activity, we should not just be concerned about the immediacy of market reaction but should be mindful of the longer term impact on the financial stability of our economy."

Newton-King explained that market losses put strain on credit extension and interest rates, and raise borrowing costs for companies and individuals.

"As cost of capital becomes more expensive, this in turn constrains the growth stimulus which we desperately need. The outlook for much needed job creation opportunities diminishes. And higher lending rates make everyday life more expensive for ordinary South Africans."

Investors, ranging from individual retirees to huge pension funds, have seen the value of their holdings plummet as the market responded to the shock news of Nene's axing.

Businesses already under pressure now face increases coming from rising borrowing costs and a weaker rand which devalued from R14.53 to R15.89 (9.36%) against the US dollar and from R15.94 to R17.45 (9.47%) against the EUR in the two subsequent days.

"Continued currency depreciation will have a profound impact on fuel prices and on inflation overall, which will hurt companies, small businesses, and individuals," cautioned Newton-King.

"We should remember that behind the daily statistics are the life savings of ordinary South Africans which are likely to be negatively impacted. This will put pressure on the ability of people to fund their health and housing requirements, their household budgets, their children’s education and their entrepreneurial aspirations."

Thursday 10 and Friday 11 December 201 saw exceptional trading volumes across most platforms of the JSE:

- Average daily value traded in the Equity Market on those two days, at R47.8bn, was more than double the year to date average for 2015 (R19.9bn)
- Average daily number of trades in the Equity Market on those two days of 589 721 (both of which were record trading days) was more than double the year to date average of 246 338 trades
- The FTSE/JSE Financial15 Index (FINI) dropped 13.36% from 15 600 to 13 515
- The FTSE/JSE Banks Index lost 18.54% dropping from 6 556 to 5 340
- The FTSE/JSE All Share Index (ALSI) dropped 1 456 points in those two days, closing at 48 068 on Friday, down 2.94%
- The FTSE/JSE Top 40 Index shed 987 points over the same period, closing at 43 558 on Friday
- The entire market cap fell R169.6bn from R11.35tr to R11.18tr (1.49%)
- Activity in Equity Derivatives also peaked - value traded on 10 December (R51.1bn) was double that of the daily average of the year and on 11 December (R129.7bn) was 5 times the daily average of 2015
- In the bond market, the benchmark R186 started the week at a yield of 8.66% and closed on 10.40%. By contrast, on 29 January 2015 the yield was 7.055%.

"As individuals and as corporates we need to be aware of how we are impacted by the seriousness of this moment and take accountability for how we respond,” Newton-King concluded.