Ghana’s Eurobonds Retreat as Deficit Target Raised: Accra Mover

Ghana’s Eurobonds dropped for the first time in six days, sending yields higher after Finance Minister Seth Terkper said rising wages and falling gold prices means the budget deficit will be more than initially forecast.

Yields on the debt due August 2023 advanced four basis points, or 0.04 percentage point, to 7.91 percent by 4:05 p.m. in London, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. A close at that level will be the highest in almost a week.

The fiscal gap in Africa’s second-biggest gold producer will be 10 percent of gross domestic product, Terkper said in an interview on Oct. 19. The government was initially targeting 9 percent. Prices for the metal slumped 21 percent this year and the government’s wage bill accounts for about 70 percent of tax revenue.

“The fact that investors were made aware that the fiscal situation that was promised all this while will not be achieved is making some price the yields higher,” Sampson Akligoh, head of research at Accra-based Databank Financial Services Ltd., said by phone.

Ghana began removing subsidies on gasoline, diesel and other petroleum products in February to reduce spending. Water and electricity tariffs were raised this month as the slide in the cedi reached 13 percent this year against the dollar, the worst in Africa after the rand and currencies that are pegged to it.

“This is the first time the government has admitted that savings on the removal of fuel and utility subsidies are not enough to cap the deficit due to the wage-bill burden,” Akligoh said.

The cedi weakened as much as 0.4 percent before trading unchanged at 2.19 per dollar by 3:12 p.m. in Accra.

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