Ghana’s $2.2 billion debt sale boosts reserves

Ghana has raised $2.2 billion from sale of long-dated domestic bonds on Friday, boosting its Central Bank’s reserve by one-third, transaction leads and central bank sources said on Monday.

Offshore buyers constituted 90 per cent of accepted bids, according to Barclays Bank Ghana sources.

The cedi fell to a record low of 4.7420 to the dollar last month but rallied to 4.2750 by noon (1200 GMT) on Monday, down 1.17 by per cent this year, according to media data.

The transaction should boost the fiscal position of the government of President Nana Akufo-Addo, who was sworn in onJanuary 7, as it reviews a $918 million aid programme with the International Monetary Fund, IMF.

The government aims to restore rapid growth in Ghana, a country that had one of the hottest economies in Africa driven by exports of gold, oil and cocoa.

Growth slowed in 2014 due to a fiscal crisis and a slump in global commodities prices.

Ghana sold 3.42 billion cedis ($790 million) of a 15-year debt and a fresh seven-year paper worth 1.45 billion cedis ($335 million) at 19.75 per cent yield.

It also reopened existing 10-year and five-year bonds of which it sold more than one billion dollars in a book-building transaction led by Barclays Bank Ghana, the sources said.

“They successfully sold around $2.2 billion on a single day. It shows there’s investor goodwill and confidence in the Ghanaian economy,” a lead source said.

The government inherited undisclosed debt arrears of $1.6 billion and a 2016 budget deficit of 8.7 per cent of gross domestic product on cash basis.

In his first budget last month, Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, announced plans to restore fiscal balance, create jobs and stimulate private sector growth.

“People believe that they can do what they said they would do,” financial analyst, Joseph Kumi, told media.

Settlement for the bonds is slated for Monday and analysts say the dollar transfers from offshore buyers should be encouraged and monitored.


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