Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Ghana: Markets react positively to verdict

As one might expect the Supreme Court verdict in favour of the NDC and Mahama was positively received by the financial markets, which had been perturbed by the uncertainty created by the impending decision, the risk of unrest, the impact of a full or partial election re-run, and the partial paralysis of Ghana's political system due to this uncertainty.

In financial terms as the confidence of investors in Ghana increases, yields - or the implied market-demanded effective interest rates on outstanding bonds, given bonds' market price - on Ghana's cedi denominated bonds have indeed been falling. Rates on the planned September auctions of around 600 million cedis worth of bonds have perhaps fallen by between 2%-4% to as low as 17% - a rate not to be confused with the much lower rates and yields on the dollar denominated Ghana Eurobond.
Cedi depreciation may well also be slowed as investors stop the shift to dollar-denominated assets due to electoral uncertainty - with Elvis Darku of Nigeria's Access Bank projecting a slight cedi appreciation versus the dollar by the end of the year. This is even if other analysts remain pessimistic and unlikely to shift from predictions of further cedi decline, even with the recent influx of Eurobond dollars and expected receipt of Cocobod financing dollars through the agreed US$1.2 billion syndicated financing facility which should both increase dollar supply and thus reduce its relative price compared to the cedi.
On the inflation front, despite double-digit inflation and the impact of cedi depreciation on inflation due to relatively more expensive (in cedis) imports, the most recent release from the state Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) indicates that July producer price inflation has fallen by 0.5% in month-on-month terms and by 2% points on a year on year basis, to 5% for July 2013 compared to July 2012 (whereas the June producer price level was 7% higher than that in June 2012).
Although this may seem like positive news, further detail revealed by GSS statistician Dr Philomena Nyarko indicates that while manufacturing inflation rose from 10.6% to 10.9% (year-on-year), mining and quarrying inflation fell significantly into the sub-zero zone partly due to lower gold prices - a factor which (broader implications for Ghana's economy aside) is unlikely to cause sustained inflation relief.
For more news and expert analysis about Ghana, please see Ghana Politics & Security.

© 2013 Menas Associates

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