The Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) has reported a significant increase in Ghana’s total trade, which surged by 366.6% and now constitutes 43.6% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The year 2023 saw exports amounting to GHC 186.0 billion, surpassing imports of GHC 180.7 billion, marking a notable shift from 2022 when imports exceeded exports.

This turnaround resulted in a trade surplus of GHC 5.3 billion in 2023, contrasting sharply with the GHC 4.8 billion trade deficit recorded in 2022. The surplus was primarily attributed to the high prices of mineral fuels and oil imports in 2022. Despite the real terms indicating a surplus, the significant price increase in these commodities contributed heavily to the shift.

The Export and Import Price Indices (XMPI), also known as Unit Value Indices, revealed that export commodity prices increased by an average of 20.4% between Q1 2023 and Q1 2024. In comparison, the prices for imported commodities rose by 11.5%. This indicates that the increase in trade flow was largely driven by upward price changes rather than a rise in output.

In its maiden quarterly trade statistics newsletter, released on May 30, 2024, the GSS noted that Ghana traded with 214 countries and exported to 159 in 2023, an increase from 208 and a slight decrease from 160 respectively in 2022. The newsletter aims to provide routine updates on trade statistics.

Gold remained Ghana’s top export product in 2023, contributing GHC 84.4 billion. Mineral fuels and oils followed with GHC 44.6 billion, and cocoa beans and products accounted for GHC 20.9 billion. On the import side, mineral fuels and oil dominated, amounting to GHC 580.0 billion, representing 32.1% of total imports in 2023 – a 5.3 percentage point increase from 2022.

Asia and Europe were Ghana’s principal trading partners for both exports and imports in 2023. Notably, Asia’s share in exports increased by 2.1 percentage points and in imports by 4.1 percentage points, surpassing Europe as the leading source of imports.

The GSS’s quarterly trade statistics newsletter, which relies on administrative data from the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, is part of an effort to institutionalize the provision of regular trade updates.

This significant growth in trade underscores the vital role of commodity prices in shaping Ghana’s economic landscape, highlighting the importance of monitoring price changes and their impacts on trade dynamics.

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