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Fitch downgrades Ghana to B-; forecasts a grim economy

January 15th 2022, 11:04:16 am

American economic ratings company, Fitch has downgraded Ghana’s Long-Term Foreign-Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) to B- from B.

Ghana's Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta.

In a report on its website on January 14, the global market ratings giant said Ghana’s outlook is dire.

It said: “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”, it added.

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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.

The government's fiscal consolidation plans are focused on revenue measures adopted in the 2022 budget, including a new 1.75% e-levy on certain digital transactions and changes to the calculation of certain taxes and import duties.

The medium-term fiscal framework envisages that these new revenue measures, together with fading pandemic-related expenditure, will drive an increase in government revenue to 20.0% of GDP in 2022 from an estimated 15.4% in 2021.

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Evans Annang

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