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Business News of Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Source: Graphic

Private Remittances Rake In $5.78bn

Private inward transfers through the banks and finance companies from January to December 2006 amounted to $5.78 billion, which represents a 21.5 per cent increase over those for 2005, Dr Paul Acquah, Governor of the Bank of Ghana, has announced.

He said the foreign exchange market remained buoyant in 2006 with purchases and sales of foreign exchange by the banks and forex bureaux increasing by 16.6 per cent over the 2005 level to $6.8 billion.

Dr Acquah, who is also Chairman of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Bank of Ghana, said cumulative purchases and sales for the first two months of this year amounted to $1,140.87 million, compared with $1,086.43 million recorded for the same period in 2006.

Briefing the media at the end of the MPC meeting held last week, the Governor stated that the overall balance of payment recorded a surplus on the strength of debt cancellation, private capital flows and unrequited transfers, raising gross international reserves to $2.05 billion at the end of February, 2007.

On the external accounts, the Governor said the provisional balance of payments data showed a strengthened external payments position and that the overall balance of payments position improved from a surplus of $84.34 million in 2005 to $415.12 million in 2006.

He added that total exports recorded an increase of 33.0 per cent during the year 2006 over the 2005 level to $3,726.67 million while growth in exports during the third quarter of 2006 was sustained into the fourth quarter with a marginal (1.1 per cent) increase to $932.10 million.

He said the fourth quarter export growth was driven by growth in non-traditional exports (34.5 per cent) and gold exports (1.2 per cent).

He said total imports in 2006 rose by 22.0 per cent to $6,753.68 million, and that capital and intermediate goods accounted for 73 per cent of total imports.

The Governor mentioned that the relatively high import growth in the third quarter of 2006 slowed down by 2.2 per cent in the fourth quarter, driven mainly by a relatively smaller oil imports in the fourth quarter of 2006.

He said total oil imports for 2006 increased by 45.7 per cent to $1,646.1 million, significantly above the $1,129.4 million recorded in 2005, reflecting an increase in realised unit price and 2.3 per cent increase in volume over 2005, and said the trade balance increased from a deficit of $2,543.14 million in 2005 to $2,788.51 million in 2006.

He said developments in the nominal bilateral exchange rates of the cedi against the three major currencies – the dollar, the pound sterling and the euro — showed that for January to February 2007, the cedi depreciated cumulatively against all the three currencies by 0.2, 0.5 and 0.6 per cent respectively.

That, he said, compared with an appreciation of 0.01 per cent against the dollar and depreciation of 0.9 and 0.7 per cent against the pound sterling and the euro respectively over the same period in 2006.