Goldman says South African market ‘tough’ before election

18th April 2024 By: Bloomberg

Goldman says South African market ‘tough’ before election

South African investors are holding off on big moves before the vote next month, Goldman Sachs Group said, as the elections shape up to be the most pivotal in 30 years.

Assuming the vote is trouble-free, “we could see quite a significant pickup in foreign interest in both equities and debt,” said Simon Denny, chief executive officer for South Africa at Goldman. Interest-rate cuts and progress tackling the nation’s rolling power outages will also be key to attracting more foreign capital, he said.

Goldman has significantly expanded its operations in South Africa, tripling headcount over the past five years in its Johannesburg offices, from where it services the rest of sub-Saharan Africa. The US bank is betting on growth as energy constraints ease by the end of the year and a smooth outcome in the nation’s most-contested general election since 1994.

“The market remains tough,” Denny said. “But we have capital on the ground and everything in place to continue to grow our businesses.”

Polls indicate the ruling African National Congress could lose its majority and potentially be forced into a coalition government.

Elsewhere in the region, governments are looking past persistent inflation, high interest rates and dollar strength as debt sales resume after a two-year hiatus. Recent offerings in Ivory Coast, Benin and Kenya were over-subscribed, while Nigeria and Angola have bonds coming due in 2025, Denny said.

There’s “more activity to come,” Denny said. “Investor reception has been good.”