Debt-Ridden Ghana’s Cedi Posts World’s Biggest Gain Against US Dollar
Ghana’s currency took the title of the world’s best performer against the dollar this week amid optimism the debt-distressed country is moving closer to unlocking an International Monetary Fund bailout.
The cedi has rallied 10% in the past five days, the biggest advance among about 150 currencies tracked by Bloomberg. That’s a turnaround for an exchange rate that had lost half of its value this year and occupied the bottom slot in the charts.
The gains came even as the African nation put its local-currency sovereign bonds in what Fitch Ratings described as a “default-like process,” and the holders of its dollar bonds braced for capital losses. The restructuring is needed to put Ghana’s debt on a sustainable path and secure a $3 billion IMF loan.
“The currency was the cheapest in Africa, more than 30% undervalued versus its 25-year history last week, so some rebound after the huge fall recently isn’t that surprising,” said Charles Robertson, the global chief economist at Renaissance Capital Ltd. in London. “Also we have the IMF in town, which should pave the way for dollar support.”
Investors are returning to some of the riskiest corners of emerging markets amid the dollar’s biggest quarterly decline since 2010.
They’re betting that a Federal Reserve pivot to a lesshawkish monetary stance will continue to weigh on the greenback in the coming months.
The cedi advanced Friday to 12.9648 per dollar, the strongest level since October on a closing basis. It’s still down 52% this year.
Optimism on the cedi “is a combination of a somewhat more hawkish central bank, some progress on the restructuring front and a bit of buying the news,” said Simon Quijano-Evans, the chief economist at Gemcorp Capital Management Ltd. in London.
Other emerging currencies that outperformed this week include the Vietnamese dong, Chilean peso, Costa Rican colon and Chinese yuan.
Story by: Srinivasan Sivabalan
Photographer: Cristina Aldehuela/Bloomberg