August 29, 2018 / 12:43 PM / a year ago

South Africa launches electronic trading platform for government bonds

JOHANNESBURG, Aug 29 (Reuters) - The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) and the London Stock Exchange launched the country’s first electronic government bond trading platform, offering an alternative to traditional fixed-income trading via telephone or chat services.

The new system offers public price transparency equivalent to that seen in currency and equity trading and will use real-time price data to enhance liquidity in the secondary market for state debt, the firms said in a statement on Wednesday.

South Africa already has the continent’s most developed debt markets. The JSE’s platforms are responsible for the lion’s share of the activity, while foreign investors own close to half of the country’s outstanding public debt, which is ranked among the highest in emerging markets.

Close to 1,700 debt instrument were listed on the JSE with a market value of 2.4 trillion rand ($167 billion) in the financial year ended March 2017, the National Treasury says.

Nine primary dealers had signed on as liquidity providers for the new platform, the London Stock Exchange’s technical partner MTS said.

The banks are Absa Bank, Citibank, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Investec, J.P. Morgan , Nedbank, Rand Merchant Bank and Standard Bank.

$1 = 14.3960 rand Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana Editing by James Macharia and David Holmes

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