FTSE launches Africa market index

BY: Enoch Darfah Frimpong

The FTSE Group (“FTSE”), the award winning global index provider in partnership with the African Securities Exchanges Association (“ASEA”), has launched   the FTSE ASEA Pan Africa Index Series, an independently calculated, rules-based performance benchmark for Pan African equity portfolios.

The launch comes at a time when international investors are seeking exposure to emerging and frontier markets, and focusing in particular on Africa as a source of return and portfolio diversification.

The market capitalisation weighted index series measures the performance of eligible securities domiciled in the following 19 African countries: Botswana, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Egypt, Ghana, Cote d’ Ivoire, Kenya, Libya, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The index series is free float and liquidity screened with country weights capped at 20 per cent to ensure the index maintains an accurate representation of the investible opportunity set.

The index series has been built to FTSE’s renowned standards of index design, which emphasises transparency, independence, innovation and strong governance. Price and Total Return variants are calculated on an End of Day basis.

Jonathan Cooper, Managing Director, Middle East & Africa at FTSE Group, said: “This launch enables ASEA to address one of its primary goals; to facilitate the development and promotion of products and services for Africa’s capital markets. FTSE has been providing solutions to African investors for 10 years and this new initiative confirms FTSE’s position as Africa’s index provider.”

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Sunil Benimadhu, President of the African Securities Exchanges Association (ASEA), stated: “The launch of the FTSE ASEA Pan Africa Index Series is a milestone for ASEA. This index aims at tracking the performances of the companies listed on ASEA’s member exchanges and is expected to evolve soon as an attractive investible index that can be used as a performance benchmark for international investors investing on African Stock Exchanges.  The timing of the launch is highly opportune with the growing interest of the international investment community for investment opportunities in Africa and in Africa’s listed companies.”

Novemeber inflation  inches up to 9.3%

The rate of inflation for November stands at 9.3 per cent up from 9.2 recorded in October, the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) announced last Wednesday.

Speaking at a press conference, Dr Philomena Nyarko, the acting Government Statistician, said the monthly change rate for November was 0.5 per cent as against  negative 1.0 as recorded in October 2012.

She noted that food and non-alcoholic beverages recorded an average year-on-year inflation rate of 3.9 per cent slightly lower than the rate in October which was 4.1 per cent.

Dr Nyarko said the non-food recorded an inflation rate of 12. 4 per cent with transport recording the highest rate of 20.8 per cent followed by alcoholic beverages, tobacco and narcotics with 16.5 per cent.

At the regional level, the year-on-year inflation rate ranged from 6.3 per cent in the Upper East and Upper West regions to 11.2 per cent in the Greater Accra region. Four regions, including Greater Accra, Central, Northern and Ashanti, recorded inflation rates above the national average of 9.3 per cent.

Interbank ATMs use catches on

THE use of the automated teller machines (ATMs) of other banks following the successful implementation of the shared platform has seen significant growth to over 1,000 transactions a week, officials of the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS), have disclosed.

The gh-link Interbank ATM Transaction Switching, which began on pilot basis in August this year, recorded transactions within the range of only four to 88 per week in the first month. 

Currently, however, the interbank ATM transaction has hit 1,224 per week, which represents an increase of some 76 per cent since it was launched on November 21.

Commenting on the report covering the first 15 weeks of the Interbank ATM Switching Transactions, the Chief Executive Officer of GhIPSS, Mr Archie Hesse, said the patronage depended more on reliability and location of the ATM rather than the number of outlets.

He, therefore, said the perception that the smaller banks would only parasite on the extensive network of the bigger banks was not supported by the data, saying “rather the strategic location of the ATM could be the main factor.”

The Interbank ATM Transaction Switching enables bank customers to use their local cards in the ATM outlets of other banks.

Currently 15 banks including Barclays Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Ghana Commercial Bank, Ecobank and Stanbic Bank are connected to the gh-link platform that enables their customers to enjoy this service.

Other connected banks are Zenith Bank, United Bank for Africa, Agriculture Development Bank, Unibank, Access Bank, UT Bank, and HFC Bank. The rest are Prudential Bank, Bank of Africa and Guaranty Trust Bank.

The rest are at various stages of completion and their customers will also begin to enjoy the service shortly.

A summary of transactions on the interbank ATMs, released by GhIPSS showed that customers of some big banks are rather using more of the ATMs of the smaller banks.

The report, which covers transactions from the end of August till date, for instance indicated the most used ATM for interbank transaction was Zenith Bank.

Over 2,770 transactions took place on Zenith bank ATMs, while customers of Zenith Bank who used the ATMs of other banks amounted to only four transactions.

Mr Hesse explained that since there was some charge when a bank’s ATM was used by non-customers, while the customer on the other hand enjoyed convenience, the service represented a win-win situation.

The GhIPSS boss, who was also pleased with the increasing number of people using the ATMs of other banks, said the company would embark on a massive education to ensure that the number of transactions moved from the current figure of over 1,000 per week to 11,000 per week, a feat he said, was achievable. GB