Zimbabwe Stock Exchange resumes trading after indefinite suspension

A currency trader performs a transaction on the streets of Harare in this Friday, Oct. 28, 2016 photo. A single $100 trillion dollar note can fetch $5 in cash from street currency traders in this once prosperous Southern African nation where many are desperate for solid financial footing.Now out of circulation, this symbol of Zimbabwe's economic ruin is receiving a warmer embrace than a new local currency the government is introducing this week. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
FILE PHOTO: A currency trader performs a transaction on the streets of Harare. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) resumed trading on Monday after trading was indefinitely suspended in late June in a move that shocked investors in the country.

The order, according to the government, was geared towards protecting the country’s currency, the Zimbabwean dollar, which has been in free fall in recent months.

The suspension was seen as a step back for an economy that continues to be weighed down by other factors such as runaway inflation and spiralling commodity and fuel prices amidst a food shortage.

ZSE CEO Justin Bgoni confirmed on Twitter that the market was open following an “excruciating period” since the suspension.

“Market now open and first trade done. It has been an excruciating time since 29 June. We would like to apologise to our valued stakeholders for the inconvenience. We would like also to thank all those who supported us during the closure of the market,” Bgoni tweeted.

Bgoni also confirmed that trading had resumed without three listed companies: cement manufacturer PPC, financial services company Old Mutual and Seedco International.

Bgoni said that the authorities were working on rectifying the situation affecting those companies.

“We would like to apologise to the stakeholders affected by this. We are now working on the modalities of getting trading on those companies resuming and we will be in touch shortly.”

Old Mutual’s future in Zimbabwe has been thrown into uncertainty after the ruling ZANU-PF party requested the government to de-list it from the ZSE accusing it of fanning the foreign currency black market.

Last month, the party’s acting spokesman Patrick Chinamasa said Old Mutual and Ecocash, Zimbabwe’s biggest mobile-money platform, had caused “runaway inflation through illegal parallel exchange-market rates.