THE Bank of Ghana, wrestling with runaway inflation, is expected to deliver another hefty interest rate hike at its meeting later this month, with the country’s currency and public finances still under pressure, a Reuters poll of economists showed.
The median forecast from a survey of eight analysts taken January 18-23 points to the Bank of Ghana raising rates 175 basis points to 28.75 percent, with only two expecting the bank to hold at 27.00 percent and the rest opting for a hike in a 100-400 basis point range.
‘In Ghana, despite the central bank delivering 1,350 basis points of interest rate hikes, inflation has continued to rise,’ Virág Fórizs of Capital Economics told Reuters.
Ghana’s consumer inflation surged to 54.1 percent in December, its highest level in 22 years, driven by fuel, utilities and food.
‘With price pressures showing no sign of easing, we expect policymakers to raise the benchmark rate further,’ said Fórizs.
Rates in Ghana are expected to rise another 25 basis points to 29.00 percent in March, then stay steady in May. The central bank is then forecast to cut them by 1 percentage point each in the third and last quarter of this year.
Pieter du Preez, senior economist at Oxford Economics, told Reuters developments in the Ghanaian economy are unique at this stage and cannot be directly compared to other economies and central bank decisions elsewhere, where the trend is to slow the pace of tightening.
‘The cedi appreciating in December will aid in driving inflation lower, but we only forecast this to happen from February or March onwards,’ du Preez said.
Ghana’s cedi was the world’s worst-performing currency last year.