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Ghana luring investors with short-term yields to bolster cedi

Ghana Cedi File photo

Fri, 25 Jan 2019 Source:

Ghana is offering higher rates on its three-month bills to attract local investors and support the currency amid concern about capital flight as developed-nation central banks tighten policy, according to SAS Finance Group.

The yield on 91-day Treasury bills, which climbed to the highest in nine months at the last sale on January 18, will probably rise even further as the authorities look for ways to make cedi assets more attractive to investors, Eli Keledorme, an Accra-basedanalyst at SAS, said by phone.

Yields on the securities have been increasing since the fourth quarter of 2018. The cedi weakened 8.4 per cent against the dollar last year, though its has stabilized after reaching a record low on December 19.

While inflation slowed to within the central bank’s target range of 6 per cent to 10 per cent last year, international reserves in the world’s second-biggest cocoa producer decreased to $6.4 billion at the end of October from $6.9 billion a year earlier, the central bank said in December.

“Higher T-bill rates lure investors to demand more cedi assets,” Keledorme said. “The 91-day rate will continue to rise as a way to cushion the cedi and suppress inflation. If the cedi depreciates it will lead to higher inflation, which the authorities are guarding against.”

The Ghana currency was little changed at 4.9955 per dollar at 1:18 p.m. in the capital.

The central bank will probably leave its benchmark interest rate unchanged for a fourth time on January 28, owing to currency pressures and inflationary concerns, Courage Martey, an economist at Databank Group, said this month.

Non-resident investors reducing their exposure to emerging market debt led to rising yields on Ghana long-dated bonds, Samuel Longdon, a rates trader at Accra-based Fidelity Bank Ltd., said in an emailed response to questions. “It was just a matter of time for this to be felt in the short-end of the curve.”

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