The unspoken ZSE bloodbath

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2019 was a devastating year for all on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) as pensioners lost a significant portion of their savings for the second time in just 10 years. Local equities have failed as an inflation hedge as pension funds are not allowed to invest outside our borders. While performing better than fixed income or money market assets the currency devaluation took its toll on the ZSE industrial index. Property markets fared better only losing about 30-40% in real terms over 2019. The ZSE index started the year at ZWL18.94 billion (USD $5.4 billion) and ended at ZWL28.84 billion (USD 1.27 billion), which is a 77% real dollar loss for 2019. These losses are directly linked to the currency devaluation, where we saw the ZWL go from 3.5:1 to 22.7:1 in 2019 alone. The year 2019 raised some serious questions and concerns for investors and pensioners alike. With no local based inflation hedging assets where do you invest? Or do we think the ZSE has gone too far and will we see a bounce back in 2020? It is impossible to accurately answer the above two questions as we have seen time and time again that politics far outweigh economics. What we can say is that something needs to change, or else the ZWL will continue on its 2019 trend. The ZWL is being rejected more and more each day and at some point it may be abandoned totally.

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About Us

We are a team of independent analysts whose primary focus is research into the Zimbabwean parallel markets as well as the stock market. We strive to bring you the most accurate rates in the market and our independence means we have no bias on these rates. You need to make your business decisions and we strive to be your best source of information.


As Market Watch we do not deal in the parallel market nor do we quote on behalf of any other person or company. We are not traders and cannot be accountable for any decisions you make around our data. We are researchers only so please do not assume our information is accurate. Our information comes from various sources including social media as well as market informants on the street. For official USD and RTGS rates please consult your banking partner or the Reserve bank of Zimbabwe. Please note it is illegal to deal on the parallel market and we strongly advise against it. Our platform documents the rumoured parallel market that is mentioned on social media and various other sources.

The Lingo


The ‘Old Mutual Implied Rate’ is a comparison between the Old Mutual share price on the London stock exchange / the Johannesburg stock exchange and the Zimbabwe stock exchange. Effectively RTGS is valued at 1:1 with the USD, but this difference in share price gives us the implied countries exchange rate.


Real-time gross settlement systems (RTGS) is a funds transfer system where money transfer takes place from one bank to another on a “real time” basis and “gross” basis. Settlement in the “real time” means that the transaction happens almost immediately.


The Zimbabwe Bond Note is a surrogate currency issued by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. This was originally issued against a loan facility from the African Export-Import Bank. The Bond Note is officially 1:1 however the market seems to have significantly discounted the value of the Bond Note.


The symbol ZAR is the currency abbreviation for the South African rand.