The South Africa country-specific exchange traded fund has been experiencing some wild swings on political volatility and surged Monday after President Jacob Zuma reinstated Pravin Gordhan as finance minister, calming market nerves.
The iShares MSCI South Africa ETF (NYSEArca: EZA) plunged 16.1% over the past week and bounced back 7.4% Monday.
Leading South Africa’s markets higher, the banking sector rose 8.5%, the most since June 2006, paring some of the 19% two-day decline after Zuma fired the previous finance minister, Nhlanhla Nene, for a relatively unknown lawmaker, David van Rooyen, but ultimately decided on reappointing Pravin Gordhan, reports Renee Bonochris for Bloomberg. Gordhan was the finance minister from 2009 to May 2014 when he was replaced by Nene.
“Markets have reacted strongly to political machinations, resulting in the much needed u-turn that has led to the hasty appointment of a credible finance minister,” Lesiba Mothata, chief economist at asset manager Investment Solutions in Johannesburg, told Bloomberg.
The abrupt firing of Nene earlier this month sent South African stocks reeling, with the South African rand currency falling to record lows against the U.S. dollar. Bank stocks were the hardest hit, with price-to-earning multiples at an average 9.69 times, compared to 39 times for the broader Johannesburg benchmark index.
“Banks have entered buy territory,” Patrice Rassou, head of equities for Sanlam Investment Management, told Bloomberg. “The challenges in our economy remain, but our banks are well capitalized and well managed. Things will get tougher, but I don’t think it’s as ‘all fall down’ as the market seemed to indicate on Friday.”
The financial sector makes up 28.9% of EZA’s underlying portfolio. EZA shows a 16.5 price-to-earnings ratio and a 2.14 price-to-book.