Shift in export dynamics as economy records surplus


The latest Ghana 2023 Mid-Year Trade Report by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) has unveilled a significant transformation in trade dynamics.

The report, delving into intricate details of the country’s trade landscape, spotlighted a trade surplus of GH¢2.4billion in the first half of 2023. This marked a stark contrast to the trade deficit of GH¢2.3billion experienced in the same period of 2022.

Notably, shifts in both export and import values were observed – with the first half of 2023 witnessing a GH¢24.3billion rise in exports and a GH¢19.6billion surge in imports. However, when examining these figures in US dollars, a different narrative emerges. Imports decreased by US$1.1billion compared to the corresponding period in 2022, while exports saw a decline of US$1.7billion. This underscores the necessity for adaptive trade policies capable of navigating currency fluctuations.

The report emphasised efforts to diversify export commodities, yet cocoa products and edible fruit and nuts persist as dominant players – accounting for 80.3 percent of total food product exports. Similarly, ten specific food items constituted over 50 percent of all food imports in the first half of 2023, reflecting a concentrated import pattern.

An intriguing revelation surfaced regarding intra-African trade, with African countries becoming the destination for 22 percent of Ghana’s global exports while also contributing 9.1 percent to the country’s imports. This unveils untapped potential for bolstering intra-African trade relationships. Notably, the first half of 2023 showcased Ghana outpacing its exports to other African nations compared to imports from the continent.

Despite ECOWAS accounting for less than half of Ghana’s intra-African trade for both imports and exports, there remains substantial room to leverage the benefits of existing trade agreements within this regional bloc. The report highlights a plethora of trade prospects within ECOWAS, emphasising Ghana’s tailored approach to cater for the specific needs and preferences of each partner country.

However, amid positive trends, Ghana’s reliance on gold exports remains dominant, constituting over 43.1 percent of all exports. Additionally, mineral fuels and oils – particularly refined petroleum, contribute significantly to both exports and imports. This demonstrates a diverse portfolio in comparison to exports, but also points to a noticeable concentration in specific commodities.

This comprehensive report, outlining Ghana’s trading partners and commodities for the first half of 2023, aligns with the nation’s objectives to diversify trade and enhance economic returns from external trade. It also resonates with the theme of African Statistics Day 2023, emphasising the role of official statistics and data ecosystems in driving implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) for economic transformation and sustainable development across the continent.

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