Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Born-again Zimbabwe bourse hostage to politics

U.S. dollarised Zimbabwe bourse back on track

* Politics, lack of capital overshadow 2010

* Consumer stocks seen as best, but priciest, picks

By Ed Cropley, African Investment Correspondent

JOHANNESBURG, Dec 9 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's stock market rose phoenix-like from the ashes of hyperinflation in 2009, but is unlikely to ascend further next year due to a continued chronic lack of capital to rebuild the economy, fund managers say.

With the Industrial .INDZI and Mining indexes re-zeroed to a nominal value of 100 in February after the scrapping of the worthless Zimbabwe dollar, it is hard to assess their performance against other African bourses over the year.

However, the Industrial index, Harare's main benchmark, is now at 148 points, nearly three times its level in March -- testament to the revival that has taken hold since the birth the previous month of the fractious but vaguely functional unity government of Robert Mugabe and arch-rival Morgan Tsvangirai.

After a 50 percent economic contraction during the previous decade, Tsvangirai's Finance Minister, Tendai Biti, was able this month to forecast growth of 4.7 percent for this year and 7 percent for next.

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