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16.04.2010 Business & Finance

Exports for first quarter of 2010 increases by 20.9 per cent

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Accra, April 16, GNA - Provisional data on the external sector indicate that Ghana's total merchandise exports for the first quarter of 2010 amounted to 1.7 billion dollars, a growth of 20.9 per cent on year-on-year basis.

Cocoa beans and products earned 704.1 million dollars, an increase of 28.5 per cent and gold earned 678.2 million dollars, an increase of 16.5 per cent.

These compared with 35.9 per cent in the export of cocoa beans and products in 2009 and a decline of 4.4 per cent in gold exports.

Addressing a press conference in Accra on Friday, Mr Kwesi B. Amissah-Arthur, Governor of Bank of Ghana, said, however, that concerns existed over the attainment of the 2009/2010 major season target of 650,000 tonnes of cocoa purchases.

By the first week of April 2010, only 518,304 tonnes had been purchased compared with 562,538 tonnes at the same time during the 2008/2009 crop season.

The crop size at the close of the 2008/2009 season was 634,256 tonnes.

Mr Amissah-Arthur said other exports during the review period improved by 17.6 per cent from 280.9 million dollars to 330.2 million dollars in the first quarter of 2010, compared with 20.4 per cent growth recorded in a similar period of 2009.

Total merchandise imports in the first quarter of 2010 amounted to 2.2 billion dollars, 5.9 per cent higher than the level recorded in the first quarter of 2009.

Oil imports for the three-month period amounted to 399.1 million dollars or 43.9 per cent above the 277.4 million dollars recorded a year ago.

Mr. Amissah-Arthur said the increase was mainly due to a price effect, as the average realised price recorded for crude oil imports was 64.1 per cent above the 47.9 dollars per barrel realised a year ago.

He said volumes of crude and oil products imported in the economy declined by 9.5 per cent to 622,417 metric tonnes from 687,497 metric tonnes a year ago.

The Governor said capital and intermediate goods together accounted for 75.1 per cent of total non-oil imports at the end of the first quarter of 2010, compared with 69.5 per cent recorded in a similar period of 2009.

The trade balance recorded a reduced deficit of 487 million dollars in the first quarter of 2010, which compares favourably with a deficit of 665.5 million dollars recorded in the corresponding period of 2009.

The Gross International Reserves position of the Bank of Ghana which had increased to 3.2 billion dollars in December 2009 grew further by 4.4 per cent in the first quarter of 2010 to 3.3 billion dollars, translating into three months cover of imports of goods and services.

This compares to gross reserves of 1.8 billion dollars in March 2009 (or 1.8 months of import cover).

Private inward transfers - received by NGOs, embassies, service providers, individuals and others - through the banks amounted to 1.6 billion dollars in the first two months of 2010, representing 27 per cent increase over the amount of 1.3 billion dollars for the corresponding period in 2009.

The Governor said of the total transfers, 239.7 million dollars (15.1 per cent) accrued to individuals, compared with 223.1 million dollars (17.8 per cent) recorded for the same period in 2009.

He said the favourable external environment continued to support the stability in the foreign exchange market. The nominal exchange rate of the cedi against the dollar, show that in the cedi depreciated on year-on-year terms by only 2.5 per cent compared with 29.2 per cent a year earlier.

For the period January - March 2010 however, the cedi appreciated against by 0.7 per cent against the dollar. This compares with a depreciation of 11.9 per cent over the same period in 2009.


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