This study investigates the effect of macroeconomic variables on the Ghanaian stock market returns using monthly data over period January 1992 to December, 2008. Macroeconomic variables used in this study are consumer price index (as a proxy for inflation), crude oil price, exchange rate and 91 day Treasury bill rate (as a proxy for interest rate). The study employs the Johansen Multivariate Co-integration Procedure. The empirical results reveal that there is co-integration between the four macroeconomic variables and stock returns in Ghana indicating long run equilibrium relationship. Further, the results reveal that; in the short run, Treasury Bill Rate significantly influences the stock returns, with and an elasticity of 0.005, implying that a 1% rise in the Treasury bill rate will lead to a 0.005% rise in the stock returns. The inflation rate is also significant at 1% with elasticity -0.135744, implying that a 1% increase in inflation rate will decrease stock returns by 0.14 %. The residual value of 0.785548 of the Error Correction Model indicates that about 79% of the deviations of the stock returns are corrected in the short run, which is quite high and encouraging for an emerging market like the Ghana Stock Exchange. In the long run, however, the stock returns are significantly influenced by Inflation rate, Crude oil prices, Exchange rate, and Treasury bill rate, with elasticities of 0.5479, -0.03021, 0.05213, and 0.00322 respectively. Crude oil price is negatively related to stock returns; 1% rise in Crude oil prices will decrease returns by 0.03%. Also a 1% increase in inflation rate increases stock returns by 0.54%; and a 1% rise in exchange rate increases stock returns by 0.052%. The effect of Treasury bill rate is highly inelastic with elasticity of 0.003. In both the short run and the long run results, inflation rate appears to be the most influential macroeconomic variable affecting stock market returns in Ghana. The results also reveal that investors are not compensated for inflationary increases in the short run, but are compensated in the long run. These results have implications for financial analysts, fund managers and policy makers.
Stock market returns, inflation rate, crude oil price, exchange rate, interest rate, Cointegration Analysis, Ghana.