The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) opened lower as trade returned a month after the government shut down the market over allegations of undermining the currency.
The ZSE’s all share index was down 4.49%, led by drops in key counters such as Powerspeed, Padenga, Medtech and Meikles. All major indices were lower than on June 26, the last day of trading. A total of 20 stocks fell, while only two rose. The Top 10 index of the largest companies fell 5.6%.
Activity was low; there were just 1.84 million shares worth Z$10.25 million traded.
The market was closed on June 29 after the government accused the ZSE and mobile money companies of being platforms used to manipulate the currency. The move further weakened already fragile investor sentiment, and drew criticism from leading investment funds and analysts.
“Market now open and first trade done. It has been an excruciating time since 29 June. We would like to apologise to our valued stakeholders for the inconvenience. We would like also to thank all those who supported us during the closure of the market,” ZSE CEO Justin Bgoni said as trade resumed early Monday.
Shares in Old Mutual, Seedco and PPC remained suspended. The government accused the three counters, which are traded in Zimbabwe and abroad, of a role in the collapse of the local currency.
However, in a statement last week, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube said the Financial Intelligence Unit, an arm of central bank, had found no evidence tying any of these companies to malpractice. Still, he said, there was a relationship in the movement of the prices of these stocks and the exchange rate on the black market.
“Whilst there was no observed evidence of the direct involvement of the listed entities themselves, significant evidence of a strong link between the price behaviour, and transaction patterns on internationally listed shares, namely Old Mutual plc, Seedco International and PPC, and the behaviour of the parallel market exchange rate was also established, with varying degrees of causality,” Ncube said in a July 28 statement.
The FIU report has not yet been made public.