Ghana’s balance of payments deficit shot up to $2.3 billion end of third quarter 2012; a rise exceeding 798 percent of the $288 million recorded for the corresponding period of 2011, the Bank of Ghana (BoG) has revealed.
“This is a worrying development,” said BoG Acting Governor Dr. Henry Kofi Wampah who explained that the deficits are largely driven by external factors, but also by a cyclical dip in cocoa production.
“Both the price of cocoa beans on the international market and our export volumes have gone down this year, accounting for lower receipts.
“The decline in cocoa beans output is in conformity with an observed trend where every five years or so climatic factors negatively affect pod development and yields,” Dr. Wampah explained.
Cocoa beans fetched the country $1.9 billion, making it the third largest single export earner in the country’s $10.1 billion total merchandise exports for the first three quarters of 2012, which incidentally represented a three-percent growth, compared to $9.8 billion in the same period of 2011.
Gold topped the list with $4.1 billion receipts, riding on the back of improved output and a bullish market. Gold prices are still projected to increase to about $2,000 per ounce in 2013 from $1,700 in the fourth quarter of 2012, whereas cocoa prices are expected to be unexciting, staying broadly stable at around $2,450 per ton.
Crude oil was the second largest single export earner, raking in $2.1 billion but still below expected revenues from the sector as production figures from the Jubilee field continue to be low, below 75,000 barrel per day (bpd), though field operators hope to exit the year with a production flow of 90,000bpd.
All other exports together fetched a total of $2 billion, in the first three quarters of 2012.
While total merchandise exports value for the period increased by $300 million, the value of total merchandise imports comparatively increased by $1.7 billion to $13.2, as against $11.5 billion in the same period of 2012.
Oil imports, including crude, gas and refined products, amounted to $2.5 billion, against $2.2 billion recorded in 2011. Crude oil imports amounted to $681.9 million while imports of refined oil products were $1.7 billion. Gas imports through the West African Gas Pipeline amounted to $128.7 million.
Total non-oil imports grew by 15.1 per cent to $10.7 billion in the three quarters of 2012. Of this, capital imports were estimated at $2.4 billion, representing 22 percent of total imports; intermediate imports amounted to US$5.2 billion or 48.3 percent; consumption imports, $2.4 billion or 22percent; and other imports $873.4 million.
Source: Economic Tribune/Ghana
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