The country's gross international reserves stood at $1.5 billion at the end of April this year, representing about 3.4 months of import cover, Dr Paul Acquah, the Governor of the Bank of Ghana, has said.
He said private inward remittances transferred by non- governmental religious groups and individuals, which were channelled through the banks and finance companies, amounted to $969 million for the first quarter of 2005.
Dr Paul Acquah, who was speaking at a press conference to brief the media on the state of the economy, said with these inflows, the foreign exchange market had remained relatively stable.
He said the cedi marginally depreciated against the dollar, while it appreciated against the pound sterling and the euro. The governor said for the same period in 2004, the cedi depreciated against all three currencies.
He said total purchases and sale of foreign exchange by banks amounted to $1.78 billion for the four-months period, compared to $1.18 billion over the same period last year.
On credit by the banks to the private sector, Dr Acquah stated that the trend had been rising and that between March 2004 and March 2005, an additional amount of ¢2,584 billion of credit was extended to private sector and public institutions.
He said the banking system as a whole continued to remain well capitalised, profitable, fairly liquid and sound as the quality of their loans portfolio had creditably improved.
“Non-performing loans of the banking system declined further from 18.8 per cent of total assets in March 2004 to 15.7 per cent at the end of March 2005”, Dr Acquah maintained.