The Bank of Ghana (BoG) said the Cedi depreciated by 17.6 per cent against the United States Dollar for the first quarter of 2014, compared with 1.1 per cent in the corresponding period in 2013.
Dr Kofi Henry Wampah, BoG Governor said factors such as imbalances in the fiscal and external sectors, together with continued uncertainties in the external economic environment, had exerted significant pressure on the domestic currency in the first quarter.
He said the continued fiscal pressures together with the challenging external conditions led to pressures on the external accounts.
Dr Wampah, who made these disclosures on Wednesday at the monthly press briefing of the Bankï¿½s Monetary Policy Committee in Accra, said in 2013, the overall balance of payments deficit remained largely unchanged at $ 1.2 billion, explaining that this was mainly due to deterioration in the current account which was partly countered by increased net inflows to the financial account.
The Governor said the current account deficit widened to $ 5.7 billion from $ 4.9 billion recorded in the corresponding period of 2012, declaring that this was as a result of deterioration in net transfers, while trade balance improved marginally.
He said the capital and financial accounts on the other hand improved to a surplus of $ 4.9 billion from $ 3.7 billion in the same period of 2012.
He said merchandise exports amounted to $ 13.8 billion, compared to $ 13.5 billion a year earlier, continuing that earnings from gold fell to $ 5 billion from $ 5.6 billion, while exports of cocoa beans also declined from $ 2.2 billion to $ 1.6 billion, due to lower export volumes.
He said oil exports, however, improved from $ 3 billion to $ 3.9 billion, as a result of increased production, while earnings from non-traditional exports (including cocoa products), improved to $ 3.3 billion from $ 2.7 billion in 2012.
Dr Wampah said the value of imports was $ 17.6 billion compared to $ 17.8 billion in 2012, whereas oil imports went up by 6.6 per cent to $ 3.6 billion, while non-oil imports declined by 2.7 per cent to $ 14.1 billion.
He said provisional estimates of the trade balance for the first two months of 2014 was a deficit of $ 294.3 million compared to $ 232.3 million in the corresponding period of 2013.
The Governor said gross international reserves as at March 28, 2014 was estimated at $ 4.7 billion, compared with $ 5.6 billion at the end of 2013, representing 2.6 months of import cover.
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