Ghana Stocks Seem Primed For Gains In 2019 On Spruced-Up Banks

Ghana stocks are tipped to gain next year after a disappointing 2018, as a banking industry clean-up bears fruit and economic growth picks up speed in the world’s second-biggest cocoa producer.

The benchmark Ghana Stock Exchange Composite Index may rise as much as 30 percent, according to Accra-based analysts at both Databank Group and SAS Finance Group.

That may soothe the pain of investors who saw the country’s stocks stumble from being the best-performing in the world earlier this year to posting net declines as 2018 draws to a close.

Local lenders have until Dec. 31 to meet new minimum capital requirements, completing a clean-up campaign that’s shut seven poorly run banks since August 2017.

Banks in Ghana will probably report higher earnings in 2019 because of the stricter controls and as one of sub-Saharan Africa’s fastest-growing economies encourages accelerated lending, Moody’s Investors Service said in October.

“The clean-up is almost done for the banks and we expect increased profitability next year,” Databank Head of Research Alex Boahen said.

“Economic growth is expected to rebound, and that will provide opportunity for banks to expand loans. Consumer discretionary spending may be greater than before, with GDP going up.”

Ghana has forecast gross domestic product to expand 7.6 percent next year, compared with a projected 5.6 percent in 2018.

That may spur gains for consumer-focused stocks such as Fan Milk Ltd., Guinness Ghana Ltd. and Unilever Ghana, said Eli Keledorme, an analyst at SAS.

Beaten-down valuations may attract buyers to lenders such as Standard Chartered Bank Ghana, GCB Ltd. and Republic Bank Ghana, he said.