Ghana’s Economy Expanded 34% in Second Quarter on Oil Output

Ghana’s economic growth soared to 34 percent in the second quarter, boosted by oil output in Africa’s newest exporter of crude.

Growth accelerated from a revised 31 percent in the first three months of the year, Grace Bediako, head of the Ghana Statistical Service, told reporters in the capital, Accra, today. The median estimate of four economists surveyed by Bloomberg was for the economy to expand 20.3 percent. The total value of goods and services in the second quarter was valued at 7.9 billion cedis ($5 billion), according to Bediako.

The expansion was “led by the mining and quarrying sub-sector, of which oil accounts for 67 percent,” Bediako said.

Ghana began production of oil from its offshore Jubilee field in December, with output expected to climb to 120,000 barrels a day by the end of the year from 80,000 barrels currently, according to the field’s operator, London-based Tullow Oil Plc.

The West African nation is the world’s second-biggest cocoa producer after Ivory Coast and the continent’s No. 2 gold miner after South Africa. Ghana’s economy, which grew 7.7 percent in 2010, may expand 20 percent this year, Dante Mossi, senior operations officer with the World Bank in Accra, said Sept. 9.

More Than Quadrupled

The mining and quarrying group more than quadrupled in the period, the statistics agency said, without providing figures. That sector is part of the overall industry grouping, which grew 84 percent to 2.2 billion cedis, it said. Agricultural crops, including cocoa, expanded 78 percent in the second quarter, up from 31 percent the quarter before.

Compared with the previous quarter, gross domestic product expanded an adjusted 3.4 percent in the three months through June, the statistics office said. On a seasonally unadjusted basis the economy grew 33.5 percent.

Local businesses may not feel much impact from oil-driven growth, since many lack the ability, including the capital and expertise, to exploit opportunities in the energy industry, said Sydney Casely-Hayford, an independent economic analyst who has conducted research for Ghana’s Finance Ministry and Parliament.

“Expansion remains at the macro level,” he said by phone today. The growth “has not translated into job creation at the micro level.”

The pace of expansion does “vindicate the central bank’s decision this month to maintain its policy lending rate,” Nii Ampa-Sowah, head of research at Accra-based Databank Financial Services Ltd., said by phone. “The bank will likely maintain the rate again at its next meeting as pricing trends tick up a little.”

The central bank left the key lending rate unchanged at 12.5 percent on Sept. 1, following two straight cuts from 13.5 percent. Ghana’s currency, the cedi, was little changed at 1. 1.5724 per dollar by 5:33 p.m. in Accra.

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