Ghana’s share of all imports from China yielded an increase from 12.5 percent year-on-year to 20.6 percent year-on-year, reflecting an 8.1 percent increase in imports.
According to Bank of Ghana statistical data, share of imports surpasses those from Ghana’s major European trading partners including UK; France (2.2%), Germany (2.7%), Italy (1.2%), UK (2.8%).
Contrary to the expectations that mobility restrictions as well as the health and economic impact of the pandemic would affect trade significantly, trading with Ghana’s most dominant Asian trading partner rather increased.
While imports to China increased markedly in 2020, exports declined from 15.2% to 5.4% in 2020, reflecting a 10.2% decline.
Earlier this year, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, Ghana’s Foreign Affairs Minister was cited to have remarked that the trading volume of Ghana and China had exceeded US$7.4 billion. By all indications, this makes China, Ghana’s largest trading partner, and this has been the trend for a couple of years now. That notwithstanding, only small volumes of Ghana’s exports were traded with China.
Data from the United Nations COMTRADE database, cocoa and cocoa preparations export to China amounted to US$128.71 million in 2019.
With China now aggressively producing cocoa and exporting to other countries such as Belgium, this means that Ghana’s cocoa exports to China would see significant decline in the coming years.
Meanwhile, Ghana’s total merchandise imports declined from US$13.4 billion in 2019 to US$12.4 billion in 2020, representing a US$1.0 billion drop from 2019 figures. Also, total merchandise exports saw a decline from US$15.7 billion in 2019 to US$14.5 billion in 2020.
Statistics on Ghana’s major exports and import commodities
Overall, Ghana’s merchandise trade balance declined from US$2.26 billion in 2019 to US$2.04 billion in 2020.
Central Bank statistics show that all of Ghana’s major export commodities but cocoa and gold registered significant declines in 2020. Commodities such as timber products, crude oil and other exports declined by US$35 million, US$1.6 billion and US$177 million respectively.
Cocoa beans exports increased marginally from US$1.45 billion in 2019 to US$1.48 billion in 2020. Meanwhile, gold exports increased from US$6.2 billion in 2019 to US$6.8 billion in 2020. This reflects the rise in gold prices during the period, as demand for the yellow metal increased.
Export volume of gold, however, declined from 4,244,597.44 ounces in 2019 to 3,854,011.78 ounces in 2020. This reflects a fall in gold production as a result of the impact of the pandemic. Also, the volume of cocoa exports also declined from 648,277.79 metric tonnes in 2019 to 585,679.10 metric tonnes in 2020.
Imports of non-oil commodities slipped from US$10.99 billion in 2019 to US$10.54 billion in 2020. Also, oil and gas imports also saw a decline from US$2.42 billion in 2019 to US$1.89 billion in 2020.
Ghana’s 2019 import structure reflected main commodities such as vehicles, nuclear reactors, machinery and mechanical appliances. Also, others include electrical machinery, cereals, plastics, salt, plastering materials, lime and cement, mineral oils and products, and wood charcoal, among others. And these may not deviate so much from the import structure of Ghana in 2020.
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