Ratings agency, Fitch, has downgraded Ghana’s Long-Term Foreign-Currency (LTFC) Issuer Default Rating (IDR) to ‘RD’ (Restricted Default) from ‘C’ after the country missed the grace period to make a coupon payment ($40.6 million) on one of its Eurobonds.
Fitch typically does not assign Outlooks to sovereigns with a rating of ‘CCC+’ or below.
Fitch also downgraded the rating of the country’s $1 billion Eurobond maturing on January 18, 2026 to ‘D’ from ‘C’ and withdrawn its rating.
It affirmed all the long-term senior unsecured foreign-currency-denominated issue ratings at ‘C’ and withdrawn their ratings. It also affirmed the partially-guaranteed $1 billion notes maturing in 2030 at ‘CC’.
Again, “issue ratings for all other long-term senior unsecured foreign-currency (FC)-denominated instruments have been withdrawn as these instruments are no longer considered by Fitch to be relevant to the agency’s coverage given that the sovereign has announced a moratorium on these instruments and they will be included in the common framework external debt restructuring”, it said
Fitch expects all of these remaining instruments to default in due course, either as the sovereign misses debt service payments or as an agreement is reached on restructuring the bonds.
Ghana on Friday missed making the $40.6 million coupon payment on its $1 billion 2026 Eurobond, as part of the suspension of payments on selected external debt that the government announced in December, Fitch said.
The country has about $13 billion in dollar-denominated international bonds, or Eurobonds, as they are also known.
Most of the debts were trading at between 37 cents and 41 cents on the dollar on Tuesday.
On February 14, 2023; Fitch had already downgraded Ghana’s local debt rating to ‘restricted default’.
The Ministry of Finance on February 14, 2023 announced that approximately 85% of bondholders participated in the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme (DDEP).
This amounted to ¢82,994,510,128 (¢82.99 billion)
“The Government is pleased with the results, as a substantial majority of the Eligible Holders have tendered,” a statement from the ministry said.
It added that the result is a significant achievement for the government to implement fully the economic strategies in the post-COVID-19 Programme for Economic Growth (PC-PEG) during the current economic crisis.
To provide sufficient time to settle the New Bonds in an efficient manner, the statement explained that government is extending the Settlement Date of the Exchange from the previously announced February 14, 2023 to February 21, 2023.