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Investors pump money into South African assets as new government takes shape

South Africa’s stock benchmark rallied the most this year, suggesting investors are turning positive on the nation’s equities after the longest daily streak of outflows in three years. The rand and government bonds surged.

Tuesday’s gains follow the reelection of Cyril Ramaphosa as president after the African National Congress agreed on a government alliance with the official opposition Democratic Alliance and smaller parties.

Shares also played catch-up with the global rally after a public holiday in South Africa on Monday.

Foreign investors were net sellers of South African shares for 25 straight days through Friday, according to JSE data.

The outflows deepened in the days following the May 29 election, in which the ANC lost its parliamentary majority for the first time since 1994, raising concerns it may partner with one or more populist rivals to stay in power.

‘That pushed the benchmark down almost 4% from a May 20 year-to-date high.’That pushed the benchmark down almost 4% from a May 20 year-to-date high.

Non-residents sold a net R42.6 billion of Johannesburg stocks in the 25-day period, bringing outflows this year to R84.9 billion.

But on Tuesday, the FTSE/JSE Africa All Share index was the best performer among 92 global equity benchmarks tracked by Bloomberg, rallying as much as 3.3% as banks, insurers, and retailers surged.

Old Mutual, Clicks, FirstRand, and Truworths International were among the leading gainers.

The country’s so-called government of national unity has buoyed sentiment with a pledge to speed up reform measures, including reining in state debt and tackling the power shortages and logistics snarl-ups that have hobbled Africa’s biggest economy.

The exclusion of parties that support land expropriation and the nationalization of mines and banks helped shore up investor sentiment. 

The new government’s agenda “aims to prioritize structural reforms to address basic infrastructure and service delivery shortfalls and weak investments while gradually narrowing fiscal deficits,” S&P Global Ratings said in a statement.

“The election outcome is broadly favourable for the economic and fiscal outlook, compared with the alternatives.”

The rand gained 0.8% to 18.1236 per dollar as of 12:38 p.m. in Johannesburg, wiping out its post-election losses. Yields on benchmark 2035 government bonds plunged 21 basis points to 11.50%, the lowest on a closing basis since Feb. 6.

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