Dollars Vanish in Ghana

Trader's bonus wiped out as banks hoard cash on speculation that the U.S. will scale back bond buying in the near future.

Sadiq Abubakar is seeing his hopes of an annual bonus fade as Ghana’s central bank hoards dollars, cutting foreign-exchange trading to the least in almost three years and sending the cedi to an all-time low.

The 32-year-old dealer at International Commercial Bank Ltd. in the capital, Accra, says he has met just 40 percent of his revenue target this year and hasn’t traded U.S. currency on the interbank market since June 1. Purchases of foreign exchange (FX) among lenders fell an annual 17 percent in the second quarter to $1.86 billion, the lowest since the third quarter of 2010, according to Bank of Ghana data compiled by Bloomberg.

Currency trading has slowed because earnings from gold and other exports have declined, according to First Deputy Governor Millison Narh. Revenue from bullion fell 13 percent in the year through August, the Bank of Ghana said Sept. 18.

“We don’t want to sell everything to the market,” Narh said in an Oct. 23 interview in Accra. “Investors also look at our reserves” to gauge the economy’s strength, he said.

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