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19.10.2004 Business & Finance

Ghana Stock market develoments

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The CAL Bank IPO closed on October 1, 2004 and indications are that there will be on over subscription. This is coming right on the back of the BOPP IPO which was oversubscribed by over a 175%. The sudden surge in investor interest in new listings on the GSE and the rather bullish and buoyant market over the past 20 months may be indications of a shifting interest in the domestic investor market from fixed income instruments such as treasury bills into the demonstrably much higher yielding shares in the Ghana Stock Market. The Databank Stock Index which tracks the Ghana Stock Market has shown a year to date return of 96.41% in cedi terms which translates into a US dollar gain of 91.86%. The past two years have also been very interesting especially in 2003 when the market yielded 157% return in cedi terms (147% in US dollar terms).

Additionally it may also signify growing confidence in the Ghanaian market and economy and perhaps retail investors are now moving away from stock piling cash under their beds and looking for financial investments which they believe will bring them more interesting returns. Evidence of this trend is the sudden surge in new investors into EPACK, the flagship Mutual Fund managed by Databank Asset Management. Since inception in 1996, EPACK has grown from the initial ¢250,000 (then barely US$250) to the current ¢282 billion (approximately US$31 million) and the number of members or shareholders has grown from the initial five to well over 23,500. Obviously the lucrative returns of the GSE over the past two years may have had a hand in it but that in addition to the recent trend of oversubscription further reinforces the notion that a lot more can be done to mobilize informal money into the formal sector. This year also a number of new mutual funds were licensed by the SEC indicating an improvement in funds mobilization in the capital markets.

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