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Business News of Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Source: GNA

BOG Gross International Reserves down to $4.3 billion

The Gross International Reserves of Bank of Ghana (BoG) declined to $4.3 billion as at June 8, 2012 from $5.4 billion in December 2011, the Central Bank said in Accra on Wednesday.

This is equivalent to 2.5 months imports cover of goods and services.

Mr. Kwesi B. Amissah-Arthur, Governor of Bank of Ghana, said for the first quarter of 2012, the Balance of Payments recorded a deficit of $1.3 billion, compared to a deficit of only $154.2 million in the same period of 2011. “The widening balance of payments is attributable to the deterioration in both the current account and the financial and capital accounts,” he said.

Mr. Amissah-Arthur said provisional data from BoG for the first five months of 2012 showed that total revenue and grants recorded a year-on-year growth of 34.5 per cent, amounting to GH¢5.1 billion.

Total tax revenue was GH¢4.4 billion, 46.3 per cent higher than the out-turn of GH¢3.0 billion recorded during the corresponding period in 2011.

During the period, disbursements of grants amounted to GH¢293.8 million.

However, total expenditure for the same period amounted to GH¢7.5 billion, representing a year-on-year growth of 44.9 per cent.

Of this, statutory payments amounted to GH¢5.4 billion, comprising mainly of wage-related payments of GH¢4.0 billion and discretionary payments of GH¢2.1 billion, representing 38.9 per cent of total payments.

These developments resulted in a narrow budget deficit of GH¢2.4 billion.

“The deficit together with a net foreign loan repayment of GH¢119.7 million created a resource gap of GH¢2.5 billion which was financed from domestic sources,” the Governor said, adding that the banking sector financed 58.9 per cent of the deficit, with the non-bank sector financing the remaining 41.1 per cent.

Mr. Amissah-Arthur, said the stock of public debt was GH¢25.8 billion at the end of April 2012, increasing from the GH¢24 billion recorded at the end of 2011. In relation to GDP, the total public debt increased from 42.6 per cent at the end of December 2011 to 42.7 per cent at end April 2012.

The domestic component of the public debt was GH¢12.6 billion in April 2012, while the external component was $7.8 billion.

Total merchandise exports were $6.6 billion over the first five months of 2012, representing a year-on-year growth of 24.6 per cent.

There were higher receipts from gold, cocoa beans and crude oil exports as commodity prices increased during the period.

Export receipts from gold amounted to $2.7 billion, cocoa beans were $1.6 billion, while crude oil was $1.2 billion during the period.

Other exports, including non-traditional products, amounted to $768.2 million.

Total merchandise imports were $7.5 billion during the five months, indicating a growth of 27.9 per cent on a year-on-year basis.

Oil imports were $1.5 billion, compared with $1.2 billion in the same period of 2011; of this, crude oil amounted to $483.4 million while refined oil products were $967.9 million. Gas imports through the West Africa Gas Pipeline are estimated at $73.5 million.

Total non-oil imports, categorised by the Broad Economic Classification (BEC) amounted to $6 billion compared with $4.7 billion recorded in the corresponding period in 2011.

Of this, capital imports was estimated at $1.3 billion, intermediate imports $2.9 billion, consumption goods $1.3 billion and other imports $439 million.

The balance on the trade account therefore registered a deficit of $937.3 million by end May 2012, compared with a deficit of $597.2 million recorded in the same period a year ago.**

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