Friday, February 28, 2020 / 5:28 PM / United
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Analysis of Pan African foreign exchange condition showed that the performance was mixed in 2019. Over the review period, local currencies in Egypt (+11.7%), Tunisia (+7.7%), South Africa (+2.4%) and Kenya (+0.4%) strengthened, against the US dollar, thanks increased Foreign Portfolio Investment (FPI) inflows. On the other hand, local currencies in Angola (-36.0%), Ghana (-14.0%) and Mauritius (-5.6%) weakened against the greenback. Meanwhile, a continued intervention by the Central Bank of Nigeria kept the naira largely stable through 2019.
Notably, Egyptian pound benefited from the dividend of recent reforms as well as increasing stability which continue to buoy inflows from tourism. Also, the South African rand shrugged-off a raft of negatives headlines, notably the faltering momentum in the economy, the risk of a credit-rating downgrade to junk, and a failing state-owned electricity company. On the contrary, the Angolan kwanza suffered from the Central Bank's continued control measures on the exchange rate since abandoning the peg to the USD in Jan-18.
Thus far in 2020, the Ghanaian cedi have strengthened up to 7.0% against the greenback, emerging as the best performer in 2020. The strong performance was buoyed by the country's attractive growth story, an above 10.0% real yields at the local bond market as well as a successful Eurobond issuance in Feb-2020. Meanwhile, currencies across other SSA countries under our watch have weakened against the dollar with South Africa being the worst performer as global risk continues to rise amid the outbreak of Coronavirus which have weighed on commodity prices which account for the bulk of export earnings. Also, weak economic structure in some countries and regulatory uncertainties in others remains a headwind to currency performance in 2020.
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