Market efficiency and stock return behaviour in Africa's emerging equity markets
2011-02-21T10:56:02Z (GMT) by
The widespread creation of stock markets in developing countries is one of the most conspicuous features of international financial development in the past three decades. The number of stock markets in Africa increased from only six before 1989 to 21 by 2004. The quest for long-term capital for development and the increasing role played by stock markets in the efficient allocation of resources made the stock market culture inevitable in most cases. 'Africa's emerging markets represent a fast growing part of the world economy, and empirical evidence suggests that they have low, even negative, correlations with the more developed financial markets. Thus inclusion of African assets in a mean-variance efficient portfolio could significantly reduce portfolio volatility and increase expected returns. In spite of these facts, little is known about Africa's markets. Although the Efficient Markets Hypothesis (EMH) has been with us for nearly five decades, and knowledge of stock return behaviour has been accumulating in emerging market economies of Asia and Latin America, Africa's markets continue to escape the attention of the research community. This thesis contributes to our knowledge of the dynamic behaviour of stock returns in Africa's biggest markets (South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria, Kenya, Tunisia and Morocco). The novelty of this study rests on applying a variety of econometric techniques and which leads to the following conclusions: Weak form efficiency is rejected for all the markets; however, this is discussed with reference to the institutional characteristics of the markets studied (i. e., capitalisation, turn over, liquidity and information and legal architecture). Seasonal patterns exist in African stock returns: however, with appropriate specification, they tend to disappear, and where they are significant, they tend to be unexploitable. We also show that Africa's markets are not well integrated, regionally, and globally. While this evidence calls for more openness to trade and policy coordination, it also implies that Africa's markets can play a role in diversifying investment risk. Finally, stock prices tend to provide a hedge to investors against rising consumer prices over a relatively long period of time.