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Public debt reaches ¢139 billion as of June 2017

The country’s debt stock reached ¢139 billion as at the end of June this year, the latest economic and financial data released by the Bank of Ghana (BoG) has revealed.

The data revealed after a meeting to review the health of the economy showed that from May to June 2017, the debt stock went by ¢1.4 billion.

It is not clear what might have caused the spike in the debt stock; although some believe it could be due to fresh borrowings, cedis' marginal depreciation or some additional commitment made by government during this period. 

Debt breakdown 

The data showed that ¢74.6 billion of the debts were loans secured from outside the country, while ¢64 billion were domestic debts.

The economic and financial data puts the country’s debt-to-GDP ratio at 68.6 percent which is below the dreaded 70 percent mark;  government's end-of-year target. 

 Concerns

The recent International Monetary Fund (IMF) staff report raised issues about the country’s rising debts describing it as the biggest threat to efforts to quickly stabilize the economy.

According the IMF, the country’ debt stock has reached levels that could make it difficult to settle the country's debt on time.

Ratings Agency Fitch in its recent report about Ghana also warned that it the rising debt levels could be one of the factors that could lead to a downgrade of Ghana’s credit ratings which stands at B with a stable outlook.

Response

Government has maintained that it is working hard to reduce the public debt to appreciable levels before the close of this year, citing its debt profiling strategy and lengthening of the yield curve taking long-term fun to finance short-term debts, as some of the strategies.

Economic Data   

The economic and financial data released by the Central Bank also showed credit to the private sector ending June declined in percentage terms. However, in nominal terms, the value has gone up by more than ¢3 billion to ¢31.2 billion as compared to June 2016.

Bank sector developments

Developments in the banking sector revealed some mixed results as total assets of banks as at June stood at ¢89.1 billion, representing a 32.9 percent growth.

Total deposits of ¢56 billion which is from loans that banks fear may go bad has gone up marginally to 21 percent from June 2016, while industry capital adequacy ratio also went down marginally to 14.3 percent.

External Developments

Earnings from total exports ending August reached almost $9 billion which represent a significant increase of about $2 billion compared to the $7 billion got in the same period for September 2016.

Gold “led the pack” with a return of ¢3.7 billion followed by cocoa which brought the country almost  ¢2 billion, whiles crude oil export earnings stood at 1.6 billion

On the import side, however, the country spent $7.7 billion dollars to finance imports for the first 8 months of this year in comparison to $8.8 billion ending June 2016.

Non-oil imports took $6.8 billion, while oil took $903 million.

This development would result in a Trade Balance of $1.1 billion dollars. The country’s foreign assets for the first eight months of this year stood at $7 billion, while Gross International Reserve was $5.1 billion.