Total exports have declined by US$ 980.1 million between October 2019 and October 2020, representing a year-on-year contraction of 7.6 percent.
Current data from the Bank of Ghana shows that the total value of Ghana’s exports has dropped from US$12,981.4 million in October 2019 to US$12,001.3 million in the corresponding month of 2020.
However, between September and October 2020, the total value of exports has increased by US$1,211.7 million from US$ 10, 789.6 million in September. This indicates a month-on-month expansion of 11.2 percent.
The recent development in the external market shows an improvement in the value of exports for two of the major export commodities; gold and cocoa. Gold exports increased by 10.2 percent between October 2019 and October 2020.
The value of gold exports rose from US$5,201.6 million in October 2019 to US$5,729.6 million in October 2020. On a month-on-month basis, gold exports went up by US$724.7 million in October 2020 from US$5,004.9 million in September 2020.
Similarly, earnings from cocoa exports also increased from US$ 1,672.9 million in October 2019 to US$1,811.7 million in October 2020. The increment of US$138.8 million represents a year-on-year growth of 8.3 percent. However, monthly analyses show that gold exports rose by US$ 58.8 million in October from US$1,753.2 million in September 2020.
Conversely, crude oil saw a decline in its export values between October 2019 and October 2020. Exports of crude oil decreased from US$ 3,829.7 million in October 2019 to US$ 2,407.6 million in October this year.
The drop in oil exports by US$1,422.1 million shows a year-on-year decline of 37.1 percent. Crude oil exports however show signs of rebound increasing by US$201.7 million in October from US$2,205.9 million in September.
Compared to the first nine months of the year, total exports contracted by 7.9 percent year-on-year to US$10,790 million. The Bank of Ghana said in its Monetary Policy Committee Report released on Monday, 23rd November 2020 that the contraction in exports is driven mainly by the significant decline of US$1,220 million in crude oil export receipts on the back of low prices.
Total imports also fell shapely from US$1,1489.8 in October 2019 to US$ 1,0257.7 in October this year, a yearly decline of 10.7 percent. Oil imports declined by 31.2 percent from US$2,155.4 in October 2019 to US$1,482.5 million in October 2020. Similarly, non-oil imports also fell to US$8,775.2 million in October 2020 from US$9,334.4 million in October 2019.
The Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr. Ernest Addison commenting on the latest development in the external sector during the MPC press briefing in Accra on 23rd November 2020 said “prices of key export commodities have traded mixed in the year to October 2020 driven by low demand, crude oil prices sharply declined by 36.5 percent from the beginning of the year to October 2020”.
Crude oil prices averaged US$41.1 per barrel in October, compared with US$65.2 per barrel average price in December 2019. On the contrary, gold prices increased by 28.3 percent to average US$1,900 per fine ounce at the end of October.
Dr. Addison stated that gold prices have been largely supported by accommodative monetary policy, increased uncertainty, and the global economic slowdown due to COVID-19. Cocoa prices averaged US$2,423.5 per tonne in October 2020, marginally down by 3.8 percent on a year-to-date basis due to a pandemic-linked drop in global demand.
These commodity price developments, according to the Bank of Ghana, impacted variously on the trade balance. As a consequence, the trade balance recorded a surplus of US$1,743.6 million (2.6 percent of GDP) in the first ten months of 2020, compared with US$ 1,491.6 million (2.2 percent of GDP) in the same period of 2019.
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