South African markets mourn Mandela’s death
All markets at the JSE Ltd, South Africa’s key stock exchange, will pause for five minutes at 11am on Friday as a sign of respect for Nelson Mandela, the JSE said. (Image: I-Net Bridge)
With the iconic South African leader having passed away, markets are marking the tragic occasion with an unprecedented break in trading.
All markets at the JSE Ltd, South Africa’s key stock exchange, will pause for five minutes at 11am on Friday as a sign of respect for Nelson Mandela, the JSE said.
South African President Jacob Zuma announced on national television shortly before midnight that Mandela passed away‚ aged 95‚ at his Johannesburg home on Thursday night, following a prolonged lung infection.
Meanwhile, unlike earlier this year, when the rand appeared to be taking a beating on fears of Mandela’s imminent death, there was no initial reaction of the currency to the announcement that the former South African president had passed away.
Following the announcement, early Friday morning‚ at 2:10 am, the rand was virtually unchanged from its overnight close at R10.4543/$.
At 6pm local time on Thursday the rand was at R10.4321. Earlier on Thursday it had pushed to a four-and-a-half-year low of R10.53 to the dollar on concerns over the US market‚ but managed to pull back again to R10.43 in late trade.
However, the muted market reactions are not surprising since, even during Mandela’s 1994 to 1999 presidency, the charismatic leader was more occupied with reconciliation than economic policy.
Earlier this year in June, there were widespread market speculations of a ‘Mandela crash’ when the icon dies, after steep selloffs hit the rand and Africa’s largest stock exchange.
Even though the critically ill statesman has not been involved in politics for more than a decade, fears of his imminent death had cast a shadow over the market, with Mandela hospitalised on June 8.
To illustrate, the JSE Ltd lost nine percent while the rand lost 1.6 percent against the dollar in three weeks in June since Mandela was hospitalized on June 8.