Ghana records GH¢11.5bn trade surplus in first quarter of 2024: GSS report

May 31, 2024
Ghana records trade surplus in first quarter of 2024 GSS report

The country exported more goods and services than it imported in the first quarter of the year, the (GSS) Trade report has revealed.

The first quarter trade report indicated that the country's exports over imports showed a trade surplus of GH¢11.5 billion for the period under review. This means the country received more than twice the value of proceeds it recorded in the first quarter of 2023 which was GH¢4.5 billion. This is a significant improvement compared to that of last year.

The report captured Ghana's total trade value to be GH¢107.6 billion for the first quarter of this year, comprised of GH¢59.5 billion in exports and GH¢48.1 billion in imports.
Compared to the same quarter last year, the economy recorded GH¢86.6 billion in total trade, made up of GH¢45.4 billion in exports and GH¢40.9 billion in imports.

The 2023 Trade Report, along with the First Quarter of 2024 report, was launched in yesterday by the GSS to keep track of Ghana's trade across the world. The GSS, for the first time, also released the Export and Import Price Indices (XMPI) also known as the Unit Value Indices, which measure changes over time in the relative price of exported and imported products versus the quantities of exports and imports of these commodities.

The XMPI reveal that general prices for export commodities on average increased by 20.4 per cent between the first quarter of 2023 and that of 2024, while prices for imported commodities increased by 11.5 per cent.

“This indicates that Ghana's trade flow increases have been mainly driven by upward price changes rather than increases in output,” the first report stated. Present at the launch included the Government Statistician, Professor Samuel Kobina Annim; the Deputy Government Statistician, Dr Faustina Frempong-Ainguah; the Senior Policy Advisor at the Office of the Vice-President, Prof. Kwaku Appiah-Adu; and the Head of Trade Statistics at the GSS, Dominic Odoom.

Trading partners
Presenting highlights of the report, the Government Statistician said Asia had superseded Europe as Ghana's topmost trading partner for both import and export since the fourth quarter of 2023.

Asia's import share of trade for the fourth quarter of last year was 47.5 per cent compared to Europe's 30.8 per cent, Prof. Annim explained. The export share for Asia was 33.6 per cent compared to Europe's 32.3 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2023.

Meanwhile, in the first quarter of 2024, Asia became the exporter of 48 per cent of Ghana's imports, while that of Europe was 31.8 per cent. For the same period, Asia received 35 per cent of Ghana's exports compared to Europe which imported 34.7 per cent of Ghana's goods and services.

The top five export products from the country in the first quarter of this year were gold bullion valued at GH¢29.7 billion accounting for 50 per cent of the value of exports; crude petroleum, which amounted to GH¢12.2 billion and contributing 20.6 per cent of the value of exports, cocoa beans exports followed at GH¢5.1 billon with 8.6 per cent contribution, while cashew nuts exports amounted to GH¢1.2 billion and two per cent of exports.

Cocoa paste exports amounted to GH¢800 million, contributing 1.4 per cent of the exports, while exports of all other products yielded GH¢10.5 billion, contributing 59.5 per cent of Ghana's total exports.

For imports, the country's top five imports in the first quarter of the year were diesel (AGO) valued a GH¢5.1 billion, amounting to 10.6 per cent; motor spirit and super, GH¢2.6 billion, contributing 5.3 per cent, light oils and super was GH¢2.4 billion, with 5.1 per cent contribution to total imports; gas oil amounting to GH¢2.4 billion and contributing 4.9 per cent; cement clinkers offering GH¢900 million with 1.9 per cent contribution, and the import of all other products contributing 72.2 per cent of total imports with GH¢34.7 billion in value.

Five countries: Switzerland, , , United Arab Emirates and , were the top five destinations accounting for almost 64 per cent of exports from Ghana, while China, United Arab Emirates, India, the and Netherlands were the sources of 46 per cent of Ghana's imports.

Trade for 2023
Prof. Annim stated that Ghana had reversed the trade deficit it recorded in 2022 in the 2023 report, adding that the deficit was as a result of increases in prices of mineral fuels and imported oil.

The cause of the trade deficit was a result of high increases in the price of mineral fuels, and oil which was driven by the export prices and the import prices as at that time, he said.

“If you look at it from a real value perspective, we did not record a trade deficit in 2022 because we would have discounted for the effect of price changes,” Prof. Annim explained.

In 2023, the country recorded a trade surplus of GH¢5.3 billion, which was a high jump from the GH¢4.8 billion deficit it recorded a year before. Total exports in that year were GH¢186 billion, against imports of GH¢180.7 billion. In 2022, however, import was GH¢148.6 billion, compared to its export of GH¢143.8 billion.

Prof. Annim explained that the trade surplus was due to the increment in value of the exported goods in nominal values, but in real value it marked a decrease in the volume of goods exported over the years.

“In the second and third quarters, we have been recording deficits. We need to find out what is peculiar with the second and third quarters every year in the last two years that we recorded trade deficit that turned around the trade surplus we recorded in the first quarter,” he said.

The Government Statistician again stated that from the real value term, the story was different. “Our trade balances have been mainly driven by prices rather than outputs; so we want the narrative to change to begin to think about what is happening,” Prof. Annim said.

Using cocoa as a case, he said, the commodity consistently recorded the highest trade value in the first quarter, but in the first quarter of this year, “we have seen the lowest and conversation with agencies are pointing to the change in weather”.

He urged the agencies to continue to research and work hard to help increase the outputs of the products to ensure that the country recorded high outputs to cushion the economy.

For his part, the Vice-President's Senior Policy Advisor commended the GSS for the detailed report and encouraged it to continue to produce comprehensive reports which would help in shaping policies with trading partners. Prof. Appiah-Adu urged the GSS to continue to explore and employ the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to help in their research and reports.

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