Ghana’s total exports contracted by 7.8 per cent year-on-year to US$14.5 billion in 2020, driven mainly by a significant decline of US$1.6 billion in crude oil export receipts on the back of low prices.
The country’s gold and cocoa export earnings on the other hand, went up by 9.1 per cent and 2.1 per cent respectively, due to favourable prices and production volumes.
The central bank, which made these known, said total imports went down by US$974 million to US$12.4 billion, underpinned by significant declines in both oil and non-oil imports.
Consequently, the trade balance recorded a lower surplus of US$2.0 billion (3.0 per cent of GDP) in 2020, compared with US$2.3 billion (3.4 per cent of GDP) in 2019.
According to the Bank of Ghana (BoG), the foregoing developments were occasioned by commodity price developments which impacted on the trade balance.
Commodity price trends traded mixed in 2020, influenced by Covid-related global market conditions. Crude oil prices declined by 22.9 per cent year-on-year in December 2020; driven mainly by weak demand. Crude oil prices averaged US$50.2 per barrel, compared with US$65.2 per barrel a year ago.
In contrast, gold prices went up by 25.4 per cent to an average of US$1,857.2 per fine ounce, strongly supported by accommodative monetary policy, increased uncertainty and the global economic slowdown due to the pandemic.
Cocoa prices averaged US$2,581.3 per tonne in December 2020 and up by 2.5 per cent on a year-on-year basis.
The BoG continued that the current account recorded a deficit of US$2.0 billion (3.0 per cent of GDP) compared with a deficit of US$1.9 billion (2.8 per cent of GDP) in 2019 due to the lower trade surplus and higher services outflows which was moderated by the strong remittance inflows of US$3.6 billion and lower net investment income outflows, notably, profits and dividends.
Also, Gross International Reserves at the end of December 2020 was US$8,624.4 million, providing cover for 4.1 months of imports of goods and services. The reserve level compares with the end-December 2019 position of US$8,418.1 million, equivalent to 4.0 months of import cover.
Cumulatively, it said the Cedi depreciated by 3.9 per cent against the US dollar in 2020, compared with a depreciation of 12.9 per cent in 2019. The Cedi also depreciated by 7.1 per cent against the Pound and 12.1 per cent against the Euro, compared with 15.7 per cent and 11.2 per cent over the same comparative period.