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Business News of Friday, 31 January 2020

Source: goldstreetbusiness.com

Public debt rises to GH¢214.9 bn

Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia with Ken Ofori-Attah Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia with Ken Ofori-Attah

Data released by the Bank of Ghana yesterday reveals that the country’s public debt has risen to GH¢214.9 billion, equivalent to US$ 39 billion as at the end November 2019.

The increase has largely been due to the effect of the cedi depreciation. The cedi in 2019 depreciated against the US dollar by 12.9 percent.

This release follows the Monetary Policy Committee meeting during the week to review the health of the economy in order to take a decision that is likely to influence the cost of credit in the country.

Breakdown

The GH¢205 billion total debt stock puts the country’s Debt-to-GDP Ratio at 62.1 percent. GH¢111.9 billion of the debt constituted external debt, equivalent to about US$ 20.3 billion, representing about 32.4 percent of GDP.

On the other hand, domestic debts stand at about GH¢102.9 billion representing 29.8 percent of GDP. GH¢10.7 billion of the debt was advanced towards the cleaning up of the financial sector, which the central bank classifies as financial sector resolution bond

The special resolution bonds issued to protect bank depositors – by bridging the capital deficits of several indigenous banks consumed by the recent consolidation process masterminded by the BoG – has also contributed substantially to the recent sharp rise in the public debt level.

In 2016, the debt to GDP ratio reached a peak of a little over 70 percent.

Monetary Policy Committee

The Bank of Ghana’s Monetary Policy Committee will today announce its benchmark Monetary Policy Rate for the next two months.

Some market analysts are of the view that, this recent downward trend in inflation could boost the confidence of the central bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) to ease monetary policy although there is a contrary view that the most recent cut of 100 basis points in January contributed to ensuing steep cedi depreciation and so the BoG should tread with extreme caution..

Ghana’s benchmark policy rate is currently at 16.0 percent and proponents of a cut in the MPR argue that it is needed to make credit cheaper, which could increase private sector demand for credit to expand production and enhance overall economic activity.

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