Cedi’s Fall Causes Panic Among Foreign Investors

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Ghana’s currency, slumped to a record low against the dollar after a dovish tilt by the nation’s central bank, reduced the appeal of fixed-income assets, sapping foreign-investor demand for the country’s bonds.

The cedi has weakened 8.6 percent this year, the most among more than 140 currencies tracked by Bloomberg, after the central bank, unexpectedly cut its benchmark rate in January and signaled more easing may be in store.

Out of the 2.1 billion cedis ($391 million) of two-year and longer-dated maturities sold by the government through Jan. 31 this year, foreign investors bought just 6.3 percent, according to data from the Central Securities Depository Ghana Ltd. That compares with more than 30 percent in 2018.

“Declining capital inflows from offshore demand for the country’s cedi bonds, coupled with maturities not being rolled over, will affect foreign-exchange supply on the market going forward,” GaiminNonyane, a senior macroeconomic specialist at Ecobank Group in London, said by phone. Companies stocking up on dollars before transferring earnings in March also weighed on the cedi, she said.

The cedi declined as much as 0.5 percent on Friday to the weakest level since Bloomberg started keeping the records in 1994, before reversing losses to trade 2.2 percent stronger at 5.3772 per dollar by 4:38 p.m. in the capital, Accra.

A member of the Bank of Ghana’s Monetary Policy Committee, said this month rates could be eased further as early as March, following the 100 basis points cut to 16 percent on January 28.

A planned Eurobond sale, may support the currency as the central bank uses proceeds to replenish its foreign reserves.

 

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