Zimbabwe to resume stock trading, Old Mutual unit still suspended

HARARE (Reuters) – Zimbabwe’s stock market will resume trading next week after a state financial intelligence body concluded its investigation, but three stocks also listed on other exchanges, including the local unit of Old Mutual, will remain suspended, the finance minister said on Tuesday.

The government suspended trading on the bourse last month, saying it was being used by black market traders to undermine the Zimbabwe dollar.

The move, which included the suspension of some mobile phone-based payments, was intended to arrest the slide of the Zimbabwe dollar at a time of severe economic crisis in the southern African country.

Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube said an investigation by the Financial Intelligence Unit revealed that there was a link between the movement in prices of three dual-listed stocks and the parallel market rate of the Zimbabwe currency.

But there was no evidence that the companies, Old Mutual, Pretoria Portland Cement and SeedCo International, were involved, Ncube said.

The three companies did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Ncube said trading on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange would resume on Aug. 3 but the three stocks would remain suspended “while further consultations continue on the best way forward regarding their re-listing under suitable rules”.

Stock market traders say the government is pushing to de-list the three companies and list them on a yet to be established U.S. dollar exchange in the resort town of Victoria Falls.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s ruling ZANU-PF party has recommended the de-listing of Old Mutual.

Ncube said investigations had revealed that investors were using Old Mutual shares as proxy exchange rates implied by their prices on foreign bourses such as the London Stock Exchange.

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