Business News of Wed, 6 Jun 201811

BoG attributes Cedi's depreciation to external factors

The Central Bank has attributed the cedi’s sustained depreciation to some external pressures, assuring they are working to ensure the challenges are dealt with soon.

The cedi has seen its value go down significantly over the past three weeks reaching around ¢4.75 on Wednesday.

Reasons

The Bank of Ghana has argued that external developments like a strong dollar, expected hikes in interest of investment assets in US, as well as an expected increase in the US Federal reserve rate, are impacting on the cedi.

This has seen some of the international investors who bought into the local bonds, exit to purchase US assets.

This has also led most of these Banks that purchased the bonds on behalf of the foreign investors to look for dollars and pay back these firms; a development that has brought some pressure on the local currency.

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However, some of the commercial banks told JOYBUSINESS, that had worsened because of the Bank of Ghana’s slow response or intervention in the market with dollar support which has led to the significant depreciation over the past three weeks.

They also argued that if the central bank is more active on the market, the situation could have been under control.

MTN’s Initial Public offering

The Bank of Ghana had also maintained that the current Initial Public Offering has had some impact on the cedi’s performance. According to the Head of Financial Markets, Stephen Opata, the offer has brought some sort of pressure on the local currency.

“Bear in mind that this mobilization is being done on the Ghana Stock Exchange and it’s mostly cedis that’s going to be raised so somehow there’s the need to repatriate some of these issuances to the original investors which involve a dollar outgrow”, he said.

Has speculations contributed to the decline?

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There have been reports that activities of speculators or those who are betting on the cedi may have contributed to the local currency’s problems.

But this is what Mr Opata had to say “Well I wouldn’t say people are speculating but obviously there may be some people from the commentary that’s on the news and so there may be some concerns out there”.

Assurances from the Bank of Ghana

According to the Bank of Ghana, these blips are temporary and it should be over soon.

Head of Financial Markets and Treasury at the Central Bank, Stephen Opata also said, “markets assistants are responding but we strongly believe that our fundamentals are strong right now so that we could be able to moderate the impact of its external factors”.

Mr. Opata added that looking at the Bank of Ghana’s strong reserve position should also assure businesses that there is no need to panic.

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“We are making sure there is adequate liquidity to the banks and we are actually doing that. We believe that this should lead to stabilizing the situation quickly”, he added.

Dollar support for Banks

Some of the commercial banks have told JOYBUSINESS, the Bank of Ghana has not been that active on the market, the reason why the situation may have gotten out of hand.

They have also complained about the amount of dollars that the Bank of Ghana has been releasing for the banks. Sources say, the Central Bank, for instance, has been releasing about 25 million dollars a day to support the commercial banks this week.

Outlook

There are predictions that the current challenges may not be over even if the regulators are able to firmly stabilize the cedi in the next few weeks.

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This is based on the fact that most of our bonds are held by foreigners so any time they decide to get out, that would bring some pressure on the cedi.

Some also argued that since we are an import led economy, anytime that most businesses and industry decide to import more to meet their needs; the cedi could come under pressure again.

However, the Bank of Ghana is optimistic measures being instituted would help stabilize things for a long while, adding that “the blips should be fairly stable from the developments that we’re seeing; we’re seeing some significant recoveries already”.

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