PRICE POINT - IN BRIEF

Strong Ghanaian Growth Ignites Interest

Oliver Bell , Portfolio Manager
Iona Dent , Associate Analyst

Ghana has undoubtedly been through a difficult period in recent years – with the economy having faced a currency crisis, double-digit inflation, sky-high interest rates and increasing levels of government debt. However, growth has now rebounded and the economy has entered a transition phase. We noted this positive development during a recent visit to the country and returned with renewed confidence in the potential of Ghana.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • The IMF expects GDP growth in Ghana to rebound to 8.6% in 2018, far in excess of 3.4% for the wider Sub-Saharan region. Higher oil prices and increased production are key drivers of the improved outlook, while the downward trend in inflation has led a recovery in domestic demand
 
  • A peaceful political situation has also improved the broader outlook. President Nana Akufo-Addo’s government, which successfully transitioned to power in January 2017, has made tangible progress towards reducing expenditure and meeting budget targets
 
  • Sustained fiscal discipline will be vital to Ghana’s turnaround, especially considering its debt/GDP ratio of almost 70% and the likely end of its 16th IMF program in December
 
  • The country’s banks have encountered difficulties surrounding asset quality, with loan books impacted by the lower oil prices and exposure to struggling state-owned energy businesses. While non-performing loans (NPLs) remain elevated, ratios have been coming down from the 2017 peaks

A CLOSER LOOK

Ghana has the second-largest economy in West Africa, driven by commodity exports of oil, gold, cocoa and timber.

 

For growth to be sustainable, President Akufo-Addo’s administration will need to make further progress towards fiscal consolidation.

The recent move higher in the oil price has improved the country’s growth outlook and Tullow Oil, our holding in the oil and gas space, has been a key beneficiary as it ramped up production at its ‘TEN fields’ asset off Ghana’s Coast.

 

For growth to be sustainable, President Akufo-Addo’s administration will need to make further progress towards fiscal consolidation. We are keeping a close watch on efforts to structurally increase tax revenues, which should help keep targets on track.

 

Our company management meetings primarily focused on Ghana’s banking sector. Capital was a major topic of conversation, after the Bank of Ghana sharply increased required capital from 125m Ghanaian Cedis to 400m Cedis (about US$100m). The move aims to trigger sector consolidation and reduce the number of banks in the country from 34 to about 24. While many of the larger cap banks such as second biggest bank, Ghana Commercial Bank (GCB), should be able to navigate the move, smaller banks may come under pressure.

 

Loan growth was another hot topic. While credit growth within the private sector has been subdued, year-on-year loan growth has picked up to 5% and the two banks we met on this visit are targeting between 10-20% for 2018. In our meeting with Standard Chartered Ghana, management expressed optimism for Ghana’s fundamental outlook and expects it to power a sustainably higher return on equity.

 

The bank has the highest non-performing loans (NPL) ratio of 45%, versus a sector average of 21%, but debt coverage ratios are healthy. We are more concerned about limited liquidity and its price-to-book valuation – following a strong share price surge throughout 2017. As for EcoBank Ghana, it has taken a more proactive approach in addressing asset quality and has reduced its NPL ratio down to 12%. Improving fundamentals and a strong management team make this an interesting opportunity.

 

We returned from our trip to Ghana with increased optimism surrounding top-down developments. There also remains a number of other stocks on our radar should valuations move to attractive levels.

 

Key Risks - The following risks are materially relevant to the strategy highlighted in this material:

 

Transactions in securities denominated in foreign currencies are subject to fluctuations in exchange rates which may affect the value of an investment. Returns can be more volatile than other, more developed, markets due to changes in market, political and economic conditions. Investments are less liquid than those which trade on more established markets. For further details and a full list of risks please refer to the fund prospectus  

 

The specific securities identified and described above do not necessarily represent securities purchased or sold by T. Rowe Price. This information is not intended to be a recommendation to take any particular investment action and is subject to change. No assumptions should be made that the securities identified and discussed above were or will be profitable.

201803-458928

 

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

This material is being furnished for general informational purposes only. The material does not constitute or undertake to give advice of any nature, including fiduciary investment advice, and prospective investors are recommended to seek independent legal, financial and tax advice before making any investment decision. T. Rowe Price group of companies including T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc. and/or its affiliates receive revenue from T. Rowe Price investment products and services. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. The value of an investment and any income from it can go down as well as up. Investors may get back less than the amount invested.

The material does not constitute a distribution, an offer, an invitation, a personal or general recommendation or solicitation to sell or buy any securities in any jurisdiction or to conduct any particular investment activity. The material has not been reviewed by any regulatory authority in any jurisdiction.

Information and opinions presented have been obtained or derived from sources believed to be reliable and current; however, we cannot guarantee the sources' accuracy or completeness. There is no guarantee that any forecasts made will come to pass. The views contained herein are as of the date noted on the material and are subject to change without notice; these views may differ from those of other T. Rowe Price group companies and/or associates. Under no circumstances should the material, in whole or in part, be copied or redistributed without consent from T. Rowe Price.

The material is not intended for use by persons in jurisdictions which prohibit or restrict the distribution of the material and in certain countries the material is provided upon specific request.  

It is not intended for distribution to retail investors in any jurisdiction.

RELATED FUND
SICAV
Class I USD
ISIN LU1079765662
Seeking to identify long-term market leaders in countries on the cusp of rapid development.
View More...
Fund Size
(USD)
$279.3m
FACTSHEET
PRICE POINT - IN BRIEF
PRICE POINT - IN BRIEF