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UPDATE 1-Ghana $2.2 bln debt sale boosts central bank reserves by third
April 3, 2017 / 8:24 PM / 8 months ago

UPDATE 1-Ghana $2.2 bln debt sale boosts central bank reserves by third

* Sale was largest single-day sovereign transaction in SSA

* Offshore buyers constitute more than 90 pct of accepted bids

* Sale should help central bank ease pressure on cedi (Adds minister’s comments, context)

By Kwasi Kpodo

ACCRA, April 3 (Reuters) - Ghana has raised $2.2 billion from a sale of long-dated domestic bonds on Friday, boosting its central bank reserves by a third, the Finance Ministry said on Monday.

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

The sale represents the largest amount issued by a sub-Saharan African country in a day, the ministry said in a statement.

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 percent this year, according to Thomson Reuters data.

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

“(It) is an indication of the strong appetite for Ghana Bonds due to the markets renewed confidence in the long term prospects of the Ghanaian economy,” Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta said.

It is also a major vote of confidence in the new government’s economic policies, fiscal measures and programmes as outlined in the 2017 budget, he added.

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 7-year paper worth 1.45 billion cedis ($335 million) at 19.75 percent yield each..

It also reopened existing 10-year and 5-year bonds of which it sold more than $1 billion 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 percent of gross domestic product on cash basis.

In his first budget last month, Ofori-Atta announced plans to restore the 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 Reuters.

Settlement for the bonds is due on Monday and analysts say the dollar transfers from offshore buyers should boost central bank reserves, which stood at $6.45 billion at the end of February, enough to cover imports for almost a third of a year. (Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg and Alison Williams)

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