Ghana 5-Year Bond Yields Rise as Concerns Over Debt Mount

  • InvestCorp sees continued fiscal pressure as currency plunges
  • Country sells 516.5 million cedis in first sale run by banks

The yield on Ghana’s five-year cedi bonds increased to the highest level in more than three years at a sale on Thursday on concern that the West African country is taking on too much debt.

Ghana sold 516.5 million cedis ($136.2 million) of the notes at 24 percent, the local unit of Barclays Plc, Stanbic Bank Ghana Ltd. and Strategic African Securities Ltd., which were appointed to manage the sale, said in a joint e-mailed statement. The government of the world’s second-largest cocoa producer in March issued five-year debt at a yield of 21 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“A lot of investors are concerned about the level of public debt and its outlook,” Sampson Akligoh, managing director of Accra-based InvestCorp Ltd., an investment bank and money manager, said by phone. “Fiscal pressure still remains high and it is feeding into interest rates.”

President John Dramani Mahama’s administration is having to boost borrowing to fund a budget deficit with the economy headed for its slowest expansion in more than 20 years because of a slump in commodity prices and a power shortage that leads to rolling blackouts. The government’s debt rose to 69 percent of gross domestic product in September from 60 percent in January.

The central bank unexpectedly raised its benchmark interest rate by 1 percentage point to 26 percent on Nov. 16 to help rein in inflation sparked by a 15 percent slump in the currency this year. The cedi gained 0.8 percent to 3.7946 per dollar as of 4:41 p.m. in Accra.

Investors sought 644 million cedis of the debt during the sale, which for the first time was done through a book-building process rather than being arranged by the central bank.

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