Capital Markets

NSE foreign investor outflows fall by 57 percent in 2021

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Nairobi Securities Exchange trading floor. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Foreign investor outflows at the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) #ticker:NSE slowed down in 2021, offering hope of a recovery in the market going forward although political headwinds in 2022 remain a risk.

Net foreign sales at the bourse stood at Sh12.4 billion in 2021, more than half the record outflows of Sh28.63 recorded in 2020.

Following the breakout of coronavirus in 2020, investors exited equities heavily, seeking shelter in other investment assets such as government securities to protect their wealth.

The panic sales caused share prices to fall, particularly banking and service sector companies whose profits were hit hard by the economic fallout.

The easing of the pandemic restrictions and the improvement of the economy last year, however saw some investors return to the market, with foreigners particularly keen on picking up undervalued blue chip stocks.

The resumption of dividend payments by listed firms also renewed the confidence of investors, with those who took advantage of lower entry prices during the pandemic set to enjoy higher dividend yields.

Uncertainty however, remains due to the spike in new Covid infections caused by the fast-spreading Omicron variant of the virus.

Higher inflation in developed markets, which could cause their monetary authorities to raise rates, is also a concern, with analysts saying this could trigger a fresh flight of capital back to the west from developing markets.

The 2022 General-Elections to be held in August also poses a risk to the market’s ability to attract foreign capital flows, especially if there is continued acrimony between the main contenders ahead of the polls.

According to analysts at AIB AXYS Capital, investors may adopt a wait-and-see attitude ahead of the elections before making large capital commitments to the Kenyan bourse.

NCBA #ticker:NCBA analysts on the other hand do not expect the elections to adversely affect the economy unlike in previous polls.

They expressed optimism that investments could increase immediately after the election, offsetting any pre-election inactivity.

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