GHANA’S total export revenues grew by 7.5 per cent to $14.8 billion in 2018, from 13.8 billion recorded in 2017, according to Bank of Ghana’s Summary of Economic Financial Data for January2019.
Of the $14.8 billion recorded in 2018, gold accounted for $5.4 billion representing 36.7 per cent of total export earnings. However, revenues from the commodity dipped by 5.16 per cent year-on-year from the $5.79 billion recorded in 2017.
This can be attributed to the mixed performance of the commodity on the international market in 2018. After a buoyant rally from the beginning of 2018, gold prices plunged below $1,300 an ounce from May that year to an all-year-low of $1,170 in August before averaging $1,220 for the rest of the year.
Crude oil was the second biggest export earner for Ghana in 2018, contributing some 30.7 per cent total export revenues. Revenues from the commodity surged close to 47 per cent year-on-year from $3.11 billion in 2017 to $4.6 billion in 2018.
Brent crude made a strong upward surge from the beginning of the year, steadily rising from $68 a barrel to trade at an all-year-high of $84 before slumping sharply to $53 in October. The slump came after the Sino-American trade dispute aggravated, denting the outlook for global oil demand.
However, 2018 saw a ramp up in local production by the Jubilee partners and the Tweneboa, Enyenra and Ntomme (TEN) clusters, increasing total oil export revenues.
The fall in oil prices in the last quarter of 2018, which is yet to rise beyond $62, questions whether there would be enough funds from oil revenues to support the Free SHS programme in 2019.
The increase in revenues accrued from the commodity in the larger part of 2018 downplayed fears by critics that the programme may be in danger, however the recent price trend of the commodity reignites that worry.
Cocoa on the other hand continued to perform poorly, revenue from the commodity contributed 14 per cent ($2 billion) to the total export revenue, and dibbed by 21.4 per cent from $2.6 billion in 2017 to $2 billion in 2018.
Instructively, cocoa prices steadily rose from $1,900 a tonne from the beginning of 2018 to trade at all-year-high of $2,850. It shortly dipped to trade at an average of $2,200 for the rest of rest of that year.
The remaining 18 per cent of export revenues were not captured in the Summary of Economic Financial Data. But it is likely to have come from the export of non-traditional commodities.