Investment Market Update

MARCH 2023

What has been happening in local & global markets in the month of March



The Fed hiked the Fed funds rate 


The SARB hiked the repo rate


Latest SA year on year CPI



Of the major asset classes, local and global real estate performed the worst with global real estate affected both at an asset level and from a strengthening rand.

Locally, growth assets struggled while fixed income assets outperformed. SA equities and property both ended the month in the red while bonds returned just over a percent for investors making it the best performing asset class. The SARB hiked the repo rate by 50bps which was more that what was expected in response to higher inflation expectations.

SA equities were dragged lower by the financials sector which fell in sympathy with banking stocks globally as a result of US banking failures news.




US banking failures dominated financial market news in March despite what was a relatively good month for markets as investors believe Fed rate hikes to be slowing in line with inflation, which is also becoming disinflationary, all while there are growing concerns over a looming recession.

Factors that are pointing towards a recession include increasingly underwhelming corporate earnings and guidance metrics, a deeply inverted yield curve, tightening of bank lending standards, etc.

Factors that aren’t pointing to the recession are that unemployment in the US is very low and the consumers consumption habits are still strong. Other supportive factors are the accelerating Chinese recovery post covid policy pivot and that the warmer weather in Europe which helped prevent an energy crisis.

The impact of the US banking crisis was felt globally as banks’ business models, and indeed regulation, were questioned and risk appetite was muted. Whilst economic data remained robust and pointed to a strengthening global economy, the fallout from the banking sector issues reduced expectations for future rate rises, which caused bond yields to fall and hence bond prices to rise.



  • The JSE All Share Index dropped last month (down 1.3%).
  • Resources (up 2.5%) ended the month positively after a terrible previous month while Industrials (down 0.8%) were marginally negative with Financials (down 6.6%) struggling mostly due to global credit concerns.
  • Small-caps (down 2.2%) as well as Mid-caps (down 4.4%) and Large-caps (down 0.8%) all struggled in March.
  • The S&P SA REIT sector (down 4.0%) and the SA Listed Property sector (down 3.4%) struggled, making SA property the worst performing local asset class for the month.
  • SA Nominal Bonds (up 1.3%) had a better month, while Inflation Linked Bonds (up 1.5%) ended the month strongly due to suprisingly persistent inflation numbers.
  • Developed Market Equities slightly outperformed their Emerging Market peers in US Dollar terms, with the MSCI World Index up 3.2% and the MSCI Emerging Market Index up 3.1%.
  • The Rand appreciated against the major currencies; relative to the US Dollar (Rand appreciated 3.3%), the Euro (Rand appreciated 1.0%) and the Pound Sterling (Rand appreciated 1.3%).
  • The commodities sector had a mixed month, with Platinum (up 4.1%), Gold (up 7.7%) posting strong gains while Brent Crude (down 4.9%) fell in March.