Yaoundé - 13 April 2024 -

Central African public debt market sees 17.1% growth amid tighter monetary policies

Central African public debt market sees 17.1% growth amid tighter monetary policies
  • Comments   -   Wednesday, 03 April 2024 16:42

(Business in Cameroon) - As of January 31, 2024, the total outstanding public securities issued by the CEMAC states on the Beac public securities market reached CFA6,408.5 billion. This represents an increase of 17.1% compared to the same period in 2023. Despite this upward trend, which indicates the growing financing needs of the CEMAC public treasuries for both their immediate cash requirements and investment in projects, there has been a noticeable decrease in the fulfillment of the demand expressed by the states.

According to a statement released after the initial 2024 session of the BEAC's Settlement and Custody of Securities Unit (CRCT) Surveillance Council, held on March 27 in Yaoundé, the "average annual coverage rates of issuances decreased from 86.36% to 76.34%." This means that while the states conducting fundraising operations on the BEAC securities market received on average 86.36% of the requested amount as of January 31, 2023, they only received 76.34% on average as of January 31, 2024. This marks a 10% drop in subscriptions over a year.

This significant decline in average coverage rates between January 2023 and January 2024 can be attributed to the restrictive monetary policy implemented by the BEAC since 2022, aimed at combating 20% monetary-origin inflation in the CEMAC zone. To curb inflationary pressures since the post-Covid period, followed by the war between Russia and Ukraine, the central bank has implemented a strict monetary policy. This has taken the form of successive increases in the central bank's key rates to curb the refinancing of commercial banks by the BEAC; suspension of liquidity injection operations in the banking system; intensification of liquidity withdrawal operations from banks' vaults; and more recently, the issuance of BEAC bonds to drain more liquidity from banks.

This policy has notably affected the public securities market by increasing the interest rates demanded by investors. According to the statement released after the CRCT Surveillance Council session on March 27, 2024, these interest rates increased from 5.73% to 6.26% between January 31, 2023, and January 31, 2024, for short-term securities known as Treasury bills. This corresponds to an increase of 53 basis points over one year. The interest rates on long-term securities, also known as Treasury bonds, have increased by 43 basis points over the same period. They stood at 9.24% as of January 31, 2024, up from 8.81% a year earlier, according to official data.

Despite the tightening of market conditions, the states remain undeterred, proactively adjusting to new market dynamics by uniformly raising the interest rates paid to investors. As a result, likely influenced by the states' adjustments to market conditions, the BEAC's Monetary Policy Committee, after its first meeting of 2024 in March, anticipates a revitalization of the Treasury securities market this year. Highlighting this optimism, Gabon is set to issue public securities exceeding CFA850 billion over the course of 2024.

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