The Bank of Ghana (BoG) has indicated that prices of Ghana’s key exports such as gold, cocoa, and crude oil remained volatile on the international commodities market.
According to the BoG, the price volatility and varied production volumes of the key commodities impacted export performance during the period.
From January to April this year 2023, total export earnings declined by 3.6 percent year-on-year to US$5.6 billion, on the back of lower crude oil exports and to a lesser extent non-traditional exports, as gold and cocoa exports increased.
Crude oil exports fell by 36.7 percent to US$1.2 billion, mainly on account of both lower price and production volume effects as the TEN fields declined from a production of 30,000 barrels per day to 24,000 barrels per day.
However, gold exports increased by 15.9 percent to US$2.2 billion driven by higher export volumes, and cocoa beans export also rose by 30.3 percent to US$950.8 million, largely on the back of increased production volumes.
On the international commodities market, prices of Ghana’s key exports remained volatile. Brent crude oil prices fell by 21.8 percent on year-on-year basis to US$82.7 per barrel in April 2023, compared with US$105.8 per barrel in April 2022, mainly on the back of reduced demand amid fears of a recession.
Cocoa prices remained elevated during the first four months of 2023 driven mainly by lower production volumes from top grower Ivory Coast. At US$2,612.80 per tonne in January 2023, cocoa prices rose by 13.0 percent on year-on-year basis to US$2,924.37 per tonne in April.
Gold prices have remained bullish this year, supported by economic uncertainty. In April 2023, the average price of gold reached an all-time high of US$2,000.69 per fine ounce, up 3.4 percent on a year-on-year basis.
Total Import Bill Down
The total import bill over the review period was provisionally estimated at US$4.0 billion, down by 13.9 percent year-on-year, and driven largely by non-oil imports and to a lesser extent by oil and gas imports.
Non-oil imports compressed by 16.8 percent year-on-year to US$2.8 billion, in line with slowdown in economic activities, currency depreciation and easing global inflation. Oil and gas imports dropped by 6.3 percent to US$1.2 billion, due to declining crude oil prices on the international market.
The higher Import compression relative to the marginal decline in export earnings resulted in a trade surplus of US$1.6 billion in the first four months of 2023, compared to a trade surplus of US$1.2 billion in the same period of 2022.
The current account recorded a surplus of US$661 million in the first quarter of 2023, compared with a deficit of US$554 million over the same period in 2022, on account of the larger trade surplus, lower services, and income payments due to the external debt service suspension and higher remittance flows.
The capital and financial accounts, however, recorded a net outflow of US$956 million, compared with a net outflow of US$451 million in the corresponding period of 2022. This was on the back of lower foreign direct investment inflows, portfolio reversals and other investment outflows.
The developments In the current and capital and financial accounts resulted in an overall balance of payments deficit of US$354 million in the first quarter of 2023 compared with US$934 million deficit recorded in the same period in 2022.
Gross International Reserves at the end of March 2023 stood at US$5.1 billion, equivalent to 2.4 months of import cover, compared with the end-December 2022 stock position of US$6.2 billion, equivalent to 2.7 months of import cover. Gross International Reserves, excluding oil funds, encumbered and pledged assets, stood at US$1.4 billion.
Net International Reserves as of March 2023 stood at US$2.1 billion. With the approval of the IMF-supported programme and receipt of the first tranche of the disbursement, Gross International Reserves have increased to US$5.7 billion as at Friday, 19th May, 2023, equivalent to 2.6 months of imports cover
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