South African Retailers Lure Foreigners in 11-Day Buying Streak

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Foreign investors bought South African equities in the longest stretch of net purchases since October, using liquidity from economic stimulus in Europe to take stakes in the country’s companies such as retailers.

Offshore investors bought a net 2.1 billion rand ($175 million) of shares on Wednesday, the 11th day purchases exceeded sales, according to data from the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. Inflows in March were 17.6 billion rand, compared with net sales of 2.1 billion rand in February, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

There were 23.2 billion rand of inflows in the 11 days and net foreign buying of 14.5 billion rand from January to April 1, Nicola Comninos, the JSE’s head of equities, equity derivatives and business intelligence, said in an e-mailed response to questions.

“There’s a search from investors globally for growth and for yield, in this regard South Africa ranks well because of its very strong management,” John Morris, South Africa investment strategist at Bank of America Corp.’s Merrill Lynch, told reporters in Johannesburg. “Foreign ownership is very high on the retail sector.”

Investors have put money into emerging markets following the start of bond buying by the European Central Bank as a means of economic stimulus. Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s Massmart Holdings Ltd. and clothing seller Mr Price Group Ltd. led a rally among retailers to a three-week high on Wednesday.

“The thing that would drive it in the short term would be liquidity coming from the EU,” Busisiwe Radebe, an economist at Nedbank Group Ltd. said by phone. “There’s nothing fundamentally from what’s happening in the country that would make it that attractive.”

The FTSE/JSE Africa General Retailers Index rose 1 percent to 84,935.78 by the close on Thursday in Johannesburg. Massmart added 3.6 percent to 154 rand, while Mr Price increased 1.7 percent to 270 rand, the highest on record.

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