The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Bank of Ghana has kept its key lending rate to commercial bank at 13.5%.

This is due to the third wave of Covid-19, high budget deficit because of revenue underperformance as well as the balanced of risks to inflation and growth, among others.

The MPC had cut the policy rate for the first time in over a year to 13.5% in May 2021.

“To summarise, although the process of global growth recovery is ongoing, driven by continued policy support and rising consumer confidence, the outlook remains uncertain. This is due to uneven vaccination across regions, rising Covid-19 infection rates fuelled by new variants of the virus, cases of vaccine hesitancy and divergence in the recovery across jurisdictions”, a statement from the Committee revealed.

“The banking sector performance reflected sustained growth in customer deposits, investments, total assets, and profits and key financial soundness indicators remain healthy in relation to liquidity and solvency. Based on macro-prudential risk assessments, the Committee expects the banking sector to withstand mild to moderate credit risk shocks although a new wave of the pandemic in Ghana could further elevate credit risks and would require close monitoring of banks’ capital and liquidity buffers”, it noted

“On fiscal operations, the budget deficit exceeded its target in the first five months mainly on the back of revenue underperformance. Going forward, expenditure has to be aligned to revenue performance to support the fiscal consolidation efforts”, it pointed out.

“Headline inflation has eased sharply and reverted within the medium-term target band, driven mainly by the tight monetary policy stance and some base drift effects. The latest forecast remains broadly unchanged with inflation projected to remain within band and around the central path in the forecast horizon barring any upside risks from fiscal pressures. On the whole, the Committee assessed that the risks to inflation and growth were broadly balanced and decided to keep the policy rate at 13.5%”, the statement added.

The maintenance of the policy rate indicates that the price of loans will remain largely unchanged for the next two and half months.

Interest rates trend downward albeit slightly

According to the Bank of Ghana, developments in interest rates broadly showed a downward trend across the yield curve.

The 91-day and 182-day Treasury bill rates declined to 12.7% and 13.4% respectively in June 2021 from about 14.0% for both instruments in June 2020.

Similarly, the rate on the 364-day instrument decreased marginally to 16.3% from 16.9% over the same comparative period.

Rates on all the medium- to long-term instruments generally declined over the review period.

The weighted average interbank rate declined to 12.9% in June 2021 from 13.8% a year earlier, consistent with the reduction in the Monetary Policy Rate in May 2021 and supported by improved liquidity conditions on the interbank market.

In a similar trend, the average bank lending rates declined marginally to 20.6% in June 2021 from about 22.0% in the corresponding period of 2020.