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27.11.2008 Business & Finance

Fire Delays Trade At Ghana Stock Exchange

A fire at the trading floor of the Ghana Stock Exchange yesterday forced brokers to decamp across the road for a delayed trading session, while officials assessed the damage, the exchange's chief said.

The fire broke out in the early hours in the exchange building, Cedi House, named after Ghana's currency.

Ghana's stock market is among  the world's best performing so far this year, with its all-share index still up 60 per cent in local currency terms since January 1, despite falling in the past two months as world stock markets have tumbled.

The Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) is in the process of switching from the traditional open outcry model, in which traders strike deals face to face, to an automated remote electronic trading system.

"This afternoon we moved across the street to the Ghana Export Promotion Council offices and we conducted trading from there between the hours of 1.30 and 2.30 p.m,” GSE Managing Director, Kofi Yamoah, told reporters.

The exchange usually trades from 1000 GMT for up to two hours.

"We shall assess the situation and revert to Cedi House if the situation normalises. But I wish to state that no records were lost and therefore investors are assured that our database is safe. The data centre is intact, so are the automated floor and the security depository," Yamoah said.

"The extent of the damage is still being assessed," he said.

Despite increased investor interest in the cocoa- and gold-exporting country in recent years, trade on the Ghana Stock Exchange is notoriously illiquid with daily turnover regularly just a few $1,000.

Trading data were not immediately available from Wednesday's session.