Ghana’s trade surplus narrowed in the first four months after revenue from cocoa exports declined.

The trade gap for the period ending April decreased by 47% from a year earlier to $744.3 million, Bank of Ghana said in a summary of economic and financial data. This is the sixth straight month that the trade balance of the world’s second-biggest cocoa producer failed to expand compared with the previous year, according to the data.

Revenue from gold exports rose 37% to $3 billion, oil shipments increased 9% to $1.3 billion while cocoa income decreased 49% to $599 million during the period, the central bank said in the data published on its website.

A mix of weather, disease and a shortage of fertilizer has curbed output of the chocolate ingredient in Ghana and top producer Ivory Coast. Ghana’s harvest for 2023-24 looks set to total about 422,500 to 425,000 tons, half the country’s initial forecast, Bloomberg reported in March.

 Below are other key economic and financial indicators in the Bank of Ghana report:

  • Total exports for January to April rose to $5.8 billion from $5.6 billion a year earlier; imports grew to $5.1 billion from $4.2 billion
  • Gross international reserves increased to $6.6 billion at the end of April from $5.2 billion y/y
    • Reserves were enough to cover 3 months of imports versus 2.4 months imports-cover y/y
  • Budget deficit in the first three months through March widened to 2.6% of gross domestic product from 1.8% of GDP a year ago
  • Total public debt, defined to exclude state-owned enterprises loans, grew to 658.6 billion cedis at the end of February from 570.8 billion cedis a year earlier
    • Debt ratio eased to 62.7% of GDP from 67.8% y/y
    • External debt rose to 380 billion cedis from 320.9 billion cedis over the period
  • Banks’ loans increased to 77.9 billion cedis at end-April from 72.4 billion cedis the previous year
    • Loans growth slowed to 7.7% from 20.2%
    • Banking industry capital adequacy ratio improved to 15.5% from 14.8%
    • Non-performing loans rose to 25.7% from 18%
  • Monthly mobile-money transactions grew to 203 billion cedis in April from 138.8 billion cedis in April 2023