Fitch: Error in Ghana’s rating corrected; Outlook Negative

Rating firm Fitch has corrected what it says was an error in its initial rating of Ghana’s economic outlook.



In a statement on its website friday, the firm said: “This is a correction of the rating action commentary published on 14 January 2022. It corrects the rating action on Ghana’s senior unsecured debt, which Fitch has downgraded, not affirmed.

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“Fitch Ratings has downgraded Ghana’s Long-Term Foreign-Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) to ‘B-‘ from ‘B’. The Outlook is Negative”.

It explained: “The downgrade of Ghana’s IDRs and Negative Outlook reflect the sovereign’s loss of access to international capital markets in 2H21, following a pandemic-related surge in government debt. This comes in the context of uncertainty about the government’s ability to stabilise debt and against a backdrop of tightening global financing conditions. In our view, Ghana’s ability to deliver on planned fiscal consolidation efforts could be hindered by the heavier reliance on domestic debt issuance with higher interest costs, in the context of an already exceptionally high interest expenditure to revenue ratio.

“Fitch assumes that Ghana will be unable to issue on international capital markets in 2022 and prospects for doing so in 2023 are uncertain. Ghana’s international reserve position has become highly reliant on annual Eurobond issuance. Moreover, as of July 2021, non-resident investors held just below 20% (USD5.8 billion) of Ghana’s outstanding domestic government debt. While the maturity of these holdings is long-term, an outflow would put additional downward pressure on Ghana’s reserves”.

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It added: “We forecast that Ghana will face approximately USD2.7 billion (3.3% of GDP) in sovereign external interest service and amortisation payments in 2022. We believe that the government can meet its external debt servicing without market access given its reserves, which we estimate at USD7.9 billion at end-2021 (3.2 months of current external payments). Reserves were bolstered by USD3 billion in Eurobonds in 2Q21, which helped the government to meet its approximately USD3.5 billion (4.7% of GDP) in sovereign external debt servicing costs last year, and by the USD1 billion IMF SDR allocations.



“Ghana’s effective loss of market access to international bond markets increases risks to its ability to meet medium-term financing needs. In our view, Ghana has sufficient liquidity and other available external financing options to cover near-term debt servicing without Eurobond issuance. However, there is a risk that non-resident investors in the local bond market could sell their holdings, particularly if confidence in the government’s fiscal consolidation strategy further weakens, placing downward pressure on its reserves”.



 

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Source Starrfm.com.gh