FOR THE first four months of the year, total exports declined marginally by 0.2 per cent year-on-year to US$5,131 million, driven mainly by a 21 per cent decline in volume of gold exported, attributed to instability in the sector.
Total imports, on the other hand, rose by US$239.3 million to US$4,372 million, supported by increased non-oil imports.
As a result, the trade balance recorded a surplus of US$759.1 million (1.1 per cent of GDP) compared with a surplus of US$1,006.3 million (1.4 per cent of GDP) in the same period of 2020.
This was because on the external sector, the average prices of cocoa, gold and crude oil traded mixed in the year to April 2021 adversely impacting the trade balance.
Crude oil prices rebounded strongly and increased by 30.0 per cent to settle at an average price of US$65.3 per barrel compared to US$55.3 per barrel in January, supported by production restraints from OPEC+ and re-opened economies as vaccinations expanded across most advanced countries. In contrast, gold prices declined by 5.3 per cent to US$1,760.7 per fine ounce on account of stronger US dollar and rising US Treasury yields.
Similarly, cocoa prices eased to US$2,419.5 per tonne in April 2021 compared to the US$2,523.9 per tonne in January.
The decline in cocoa prices was attributed to increased supply in Ivory Coast.
Gross International Reserves
Gross International Reserves (GIR) stood at US$10,990.3 million at the end of April 2021, providing cover for 5.1 months of imports of goods and services.
The reserve level compares with a stock position of US$8,624.4 million, equivalent to 4.1 months of import cover recorded at the end of December 2020.
Cumulatively, the Ghana Cedi appreciated by 0.5 per cent against the US dollar in the year to April 2021, compared with a depreciation of 1.2 per cent in the same period of 2020.
The Ghana cedi also appreciated by 2.4 per cent against the Euro and depreciated by 0.6 per cent against the Pound Sterling, compared with corresponding 1.4 per cent and 3.7 per cent appreciation over the same period in 2020.
BY Samuel Boadi