The total value of the country’s exports rose from US$1,327.2 million in January 2021 to US$2,542.6million in February 2021. This represents a 48 percentage point increment in the total value of exports over the past one month. It also implies that Ghana earned US$1,215.4 million more in February relative to the first month of the year.
This is according to the recent Economic and financial data from the Bank of Ghana. The data shows that the country’s exports have begun to bounce back strongly after a poor start in January 2021. Exports contracted sharply by 91 percent between December 2020 and January 2021. Total value of exports declined by US$13,144.3 million within that one-month period, down from US$14,471.5 million in December last year.
Nonetheless, the recent Economic and financial data from the Bank of Ghana shows that the value of exports is still below pre-COVID levels. According to the data, total value of exports in February 2020 was US$2,801.6 million. This was the last month before Ghana recorded its first COVID-19 case in March 2020.
Trends in the value of exports
Last year, total export receipts contracted by 7.8 percent. However, the recent data reveals a deeper contraction in the country’s exports. At End-February 2021, exports shrunk by 9 percent year-on-year, down from US$2,801.6 million in February 2020. Comparingly, the value of export stands at US$2,542.6 million in February 2021.
This notwithstanding, the recent data reveals that Ghana’s exports performed very well even in the midst of the pandemic. Total value of exports rose from US$3,890.0 million in March 2020 to US$14,471.5 million in December 2020.
Major export commodities
Cocoa, gold and crude oil remain the major export commodities for the country. The country obtains a greater portion of its foreign exchange from these three commodities. For instance, the fall in crude oil prices last year impacted heavily on the country’s revenues.
Gold exports have picked up in February after recording a sharp decline in January 2021. Exports of gold reduced from US$6,799.1 million in December 2020 to US$507.6 million in January 2021. However, the recent data shows that gold exports now stood at 931.2 million at End-February 2021.
Total receipts from cocoa exports have also increased to US$657.1 million in February 2021 from US$337.9 million in January 2021. However, this is still below pre-COVID levels of US$716.3 million recorded in February 2020. Compared to February last, cocoa export receipts were down by 8.3 percent in February 2021.
Similarly, the data shows that oil export receipts are still below pre-COVID level. However, the recent uptick in the price of crude oil in the world market have started reflecting in the county’s export of the commodity. Oil export receipts declined from US$2,910.6 million in December 2020 to as low as US$268.0 million in January 2021. However, the recent data from the Bank of Ghana reveals the oil exports have risen to 505.9 million in February 2021. Meanwhile, data from the central bank shows that crude oil exports declined sharply by 35.2 percent in 2020. The fall in oil price was due to disruptions in supply chains and low demand.
Unlike exports, imports have increased to US$2,202.9 million in February 2021. This is above pre-COVID levels of US$2,010.6 million in the corresponding month last year. This means imports are up by 9.6 percent year-on-year. Unsurprisingly, non-oil imports increase the most from US$980.9 million in January 2021 to US$1,846.3 million in February 2021. Oil imports also increased to US$356.6 million in February 2021 compared to US$171.4 million in January 2021.
Meanwhile, the above developments in the major export commodities resulted in a lower trade balance of US$339.7 million in February 2021. This accounted for 0.5 percent of GDP compared to 3.1 percent recorded in December 2020.