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29 March 2014

Ghana’s Rating Outlook Cut by Fitch as Deficit Goal Breached.

Ghana’s debt outlook was lowered to negative from stable by Fitch Ratings, which said the government’s policy credibility is at risk from above-target budget deficits for the past two years.

Ghana’s fiscal deficit last year expanded to 10.8 percent of gross domestic product, from an estimate of 10.2 percent in November, as tax revenue declined and spending on wages increased, according to the Finance Ministry. The gap had ballooned to 12.1 percent of GDP before elections in 2012, exceeding the government’s 9 percent target.
“Policy credibility has been significantly weakened following two years of double-digit and larger-than-expected budget deficits,” Fitch said in a note today. 

Fitch maintained Ghana’s credit rating at B, five steps below investment grade, after cutting it by one level in October.
The International Monetary Fund said last month the West African nation may miss its goal of narrowing the gap to 8.5 percent of GDP this year if action is not taken to boost sluggish economic growth and tame inflationary pressure.
Fitch said it forecasts a budget deficit of 9.3 percent this year and 8.2 percent in 2015. Inflation is projected to average 15 percent in 2014, it said. 

The cedi declined 20 percent against the dollar last year and has fallen a further 12 percent this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The currency weakened 0.1 percent to 2.6925 per dollar by 4:44 p.m. in the capital, Accra. 

To contact the reporters on this story: Ekow Dontoh in Accra at edontoh@bloomberg.net; Moses Mozart Dzawu in Accra at mdzawu@bloomberg.net



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