Government ended 2017 with a debt stock of ¢142.5 billion cedis, the latest Bank of Ghana (BoG) summary of Economic and Financial Data showed.
This was released after the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of Ghana met to review the health of the economy.
The ¢142.5 billion debt stock also meant that the debt-to-GDP stood at 70 percent, a mark that some economists have described as worrying.
They have raised questions about the country’s ability to pay its debt back on time or what the International Monetary Fund (IMF) may describe as a risk or highly distressed country.
Breakdown of the Debt numbers
The report showed that since November 2017 when the last Data was released, by December, the debt stock had gone up by $3.5 billion.
According to the data, external debt ending December 2107 stood at $17.2 million. This represents 37 percent of the total debt stock as at December 2017.
Domestic debt stood at ¢66.7 billion, representing a Debt-to-GDP ratio of 32.7 percent. This means that the country may have carried out more external borrowings over that period.
Government’s borrowing schedule for the quarter one of this year
Government is planning to raise GH¢11.1 billion cedis in the first quarter according to its issuance calendar.
According to issuance calendar, the Finance Ministry is planning to rise almost ¢9 billion for roll over maturities, while remaining ¢2.1 billion, which is being described as fresh cash or borrowing to meet government’s financing needs.
The calendar showed that government is actually going to borrow less this quarter compared to the same period for last year.
The calendar showed that the borrowing target for this quarter is ¢6.3 billion less than the ¢17.4 billion it took in the first quarter of 2017.
However, some have argued that this decline has been influenced by the lower deficit for this year, compared to 2017.
Performance of other sectors
Earnings from the country’s traditional exports as at February reached 2.8 billion. This is about $2 million more than the $2.5 billion secured in the same period for last year.
Gold brought in a little over $1 billion for the first two months of this year. Cocoa got $650 million, while earnings from oil exports stood at $664 million.
Government in the first two months of this year spent $2.2 billion to meet the country’s import needs. Oil imports went to 393 million, while $1.8 billion was used to finance non-oil needs of the country.
This resulted in Trade Balance of ¢584 million, higher than what was recorded in the same period for the for last year. The country’s gross international reserves as at the end February stood at $6.9 billion.
Banking Sector Developments
Developments in the banking sector could be described as interesting. This because even though the nominal numbers were good for some of the banking sector indicators, in terms of the annual growth things were not that good.
For instance total industry assets as at the end of February stood at $95.1 billion, however in terms of annual growth, what it recorded was far lower than what it recorded for the same period last year.
The data also showed that total advances by banks, actually went down, as well as significant reduction deposit attraction.
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