Ghana $2.2 bln debt sale boosts reserves by one-third

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By Kwasi Kpodo

ACCRA (Reuters) – Ghana has raised $2.2 billion from a sale of long-dated domestic bonds on Friday, boosting its central bank reserves by one-third, transaction leads and central bank sources said on Monday.

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

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.

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, Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta announced plans to restore 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 slated for Monday and analysts say the dollar transfers from offshore buyers should boost central bank reserves, which stood at $6.45 billion or 3.7 months of imports at the end of February.


(Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg and Tom Heneghan)

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