Activity Picks Up-BoG

Economic Activities from May to July picked up after showing a slowdown in February, March and April. According to the Bank of Ghana (BoG), the body that sets the monetary policy of the country, the Bank�s Composite Index of Economic Activity (CIEA) had increased by 1.4 percent in the three months to July, after remaining flat in the previous quarter of the year. However, developments also showed that output growth was much closer to the rate of about 6 percent; down from 7.3 percent in 2008. The report, which evaluated the economy, showed some signs of stabilization in the economy for the third quarter of the year, which is an indication that the effects of both monetary and fiscal policies are beginning to take hold. Furthermore, the latest surveys showed more positive assessments of the economic outlook and a rebound in both business and consumer confidence; with some downward revision of inflation expectations. According to Dr Paul Acquah, who is the out-going Governor of the Central Bank, other indicators including energy supplied by the Volta River Authority (VRA) over the first seven months of the year increased by 10.5 percent to 5.25 mwh. Addressing financial journalists at the quarterly MPC press briefing, which saw the attendance of the incoming Governor, Paa Kwesi Berko Amissah-Arthur, Dr Acquah said that the benchmark for retail sales showed an increase of 10.3 percent over the same period in 2008. The report mentioned that there was a continued general tightening of credit to both households and enterprises and a reduced net demand for credit. Preliminary banking data on the execution of the Government budget for the year up to August 2009, showed a significant reduction in the fiscal deficit. Total expenditure (excluding foreign finance capital expenditure) at the end of the August was GH�4,439.94 MILLION (20.5 per cent of Gross Domestic Product, GDP), compared with GH�4,300.31 MILLION (26.4 percent of GDP) for the same period in 2008. Additionally, the country�s trade deficit narrowed for the first half of the year to $954.4 million in June 2009, compared with $2,155.02 million which is an improvement of $1,160.53 million. The reduction in trade deficit was mostly due to the reduction in oil imports that declined from $1.326 billion last year to $581.55 million in 2009.