Business News of Wednesday, 21 November 2012


Ghana’s trade deficit deteriorates

Ghana’s trade deficit has continued to worsen for the first three quarters of 2012, according to figures from Bank of Ghana.
For the first nine months of 2012, the overall balance of payments resulted in a deficit of US$2.3 billion during the period, compared to a deficit of US$288 million for the corresponding period of 2011. The deterioration in the balance of payments was based on account of weak export growth, rising imports and short-term capital outflows.
Total merchandise exports in the first three quarters of 2012 recorded an annual growth of 3 percent to US$10.1 billion, compared to US$9.8 billion in the same period of 2011. The components were Gold - US$4.1 billion, Cocoa beans - US$1.9 billion, Crude oil - US$2.1 billion and Other exports - US$2 billion.
Total merchandise imports amounted to US$13.2 billion for the first three quarters of 2012 compared with US$11.5 billion in the same period of 2011. Oil imports, including crude, gas and refined products, amounted to US$2.5 billion, against US$2.2 billion recorded in 2011.
Crude oil imports amounted to US$681.9 million while imports of refined oil products were US$1.7 billion. Gas imports through the West African Gas Pipeline amounted to US$128.7 million.
The total non-oil imports grew by 15.1 per cent to US$10.7 billion in the three quarters of 2012. Of this, capital imports were estimated at US$2.4 billion representing 22% of total imports, intermediate imports amounted to US$5.2 billion representing 48.3%, consumption imports, US$2.4 billion representing 22% and other imports US$873.4 million.
From January to September 2012, the current account deficit was US$4 billion, as against US$1.7 billion recorded in the same period of 2011. This outturn was mainly attributed to a trade deficit of US$3.2 billion, a net services and income outflows of US$2.7 billion, and a net inflow from transfers of US$1.8 billion during the period.
The capital and financial account improved to US$1.6 billion in the first three quarters of 2012, compared with US$1.3 billion in the same period of 2011. This was accounted for by increased net portfolio investments and Foreign Direct Investments. The impact of these inflows was however, moderated by increased short-term capital and net official capital outflows.
Total foreign exchange inflows, from January to September 2012, through the banks amounted to US$13.4 billion compared with US$13 billion in the same period of 2011. Of this, US$1.3 billion accrued to individuals.
In trade weighted terms, the real effective exchange rate depreciated by 5.4 percent from January to October 2012 compared to a depreciation of 2.6 percent in the same period of 2011.