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Business News of Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Source: Bloomberg

Ghana GDP Growth Accelerates to 23%

... as Oil Production Starts

June 22 (Bloomberg) -- Ghana's economic growth accelerated to an annual 23 percent in the first quarter as the West African nation began producing oil for export, the country's statistics agency said.

Growth compared with 9.5 percent in the fourth quarter, Grace Bediako, head of the Ghana Statistical Service, told reporters in the capital, Accra, today.

Expansion was led by a 162 percent jump in mining and quarrying, which includes the oil industry, while agriculture grew 39.2 percent. Ghana began production of oil from its offshore Jubilee field in December. Output is about 70,000 barrels a day and may climb to 120,000 next month, according to the field's operator, London-based Tullow Oil Plc.

"Base effects imply that industry will continue to show strong year-on-year growth from the second quarter to the fourth," Yvonne Mhango, a sub-Saharan Africa economist at Renaissance Capital, said in an e-mailed note today.

Ghana's currency, the cedi, gained 0.1 percent to trade at 1.5165 per dollar by 1:14 p.m. in Accra.

Gross domestic product expanded 7.7 percent last year, compared with growth of 4 percent in 2009, the statistical agency said May 11.

Faster growth does not pose a threat to the Bank of Ghana's monetary policy, Sampson Akligoh, an economist at Accra-based Databank Financial Services Ltd., said in an e-mailed note yesterday.

"Monetary policy will remain expansionary in line with inflationary expectations," Akligoh said.

The inflation rate fell for a third month in May, reaching 8.9 percent, the statistical service said June 15. The central bank cut its key lending rate to 13 percent from 13.5 percent last month, after leaving it unchanged for three consecutive meetings.