Anglican Church of Southern African

Monthly Investment Report - Retirement Fund

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December 2017

Cyril Ramaphosa emerged victoriously from a tightly contested race and was crowned the new President of the African National Congress (ANC). The rand started the month of December above the R13.60 level against the U.S. dollar and rallied aggressively, all the way to below R12.60 ahead of the announcement as investors grew confident of a Ramaphosa win. Under his leadership, it was widely expected that confidence may be restored in the investment community, hence the positive currency reaction.

In terms of policy resolutions, the tone from the ANC was more radical than anticipated. Apart from the need to push ahead speedily with free higher education, the ANC committed to amend the constitution and to implement the restitution of land without compensation. After the national elective conference, the rand held steady and remained below the R12.80 mark against the greenback, appreciating nearly 10% against the U.S. dollar for the month.

The confirmation of Ramaphosa being elected as the ANC president boosted the local market, with financials and retailers being the biggest beneficiaries. The strong currency weighed on rand hedges while Steinhoff continued to tumble following the disclosure of the company's questionable accounting practices. Steinhoff declined by more than 90% since the news broke in the public spectrum until the end of December. Overall, the JSE All Share Index lost 0.3% during the month. On a sector basis, the Financial 15, Industrial 25 and Resource 20 Indices returned 9.8%, -4.7% and -1.1% respectively.

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