Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Bank of Ghana Holds Lending Rate at 12.50%

The Bank of Ghana held its key lending rate unchanged at 12.50%.  Bank of Ghana Governor, Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, said: "The thrust of monetary policy in 2011 is to further strengthen macroeconomic stability, delivering an end-year inflation of 9.0 per cent (with an annual average rate of 8.7 percent) and accumulation of gross external reserves of not less than 3-months of import cover. Latest revised GDP figures from the Ghana Statistical Service estimate real GDP growth at 13.6 per cent for 2011, marginally down from the earlier expected growth of 14.4 per cent. Non-oil real GDP growth is however estimated to be stronger at 8.0 per cent compared from 7.5 per cent earlier projected."

The Bank of Ghana previously also held the rate unchanged after reducing its lending rate by 50 basis points to 12.50% at its July meeting, after also cutting 50 basis points at its May meeting this year.  Ghana reported annual inflation of 8.55% in November, up slightly from 8.4% in September, August, and July, compared to 8.6% in June, 8.9% in May, 9.0% in April, and 9.1% in March.  The Bank noted that inflation remained relatively stable, and anticipates moderate inflation pressures in Q4.

Ghana's economy grew 5.2% year on year in the June quarter (5.4% in Q1, and 10% in Q4 2010), as Africa's newest oil exporter saw export earnings boosted by oil sales, as well as a high gold price and cocoa volumes.  Ghana's currency, the cedi (GHS) has weakened by about 10% against the US dollar so far this year, with the USDGHS exchange rate last trading around 1.64.


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