Ghana Inflation Rate Surges a Fourth Month to 10.9% in May

Inflation in Ghana, the second-biggest economy in West Africa, accelerated for a fourth straight month in May, remaining above the central bank’s target at a more than three-year high.

Consumer prices rose 10.9 percent in May from 10.6 percent in April, Philomena Nyarko, an official at the Ghana Statistical Service, told reporters in Accra, the capital, today. That’s the highest since April 2010, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Prices rose 2.2 percent in the month.

Food inflation accelerated 6 percent, while non-food items increased 13.7 percent, the agency said. The elimination of fuel subsidies, a gradual process completed in May, “is still having an effect,” Nyarko said. “We had increases in the prices of imported items.”

The data may reflect “pre-existing price pressures as a result of market liquidity, the earlier bigger fuel price adjustment in February and of course the impact of recent” currency weakness, Razia Khan, London-based head of African economic research with Standard Chartered Plc, said in e-mailed comments.

Ghana’s cedi weakened 1.2 percent against the dollar in May, the fourth straight month of depreciation. It traded unchanged from yesterday at 2.0075 per dollar by 11:38 a.m. in Accra, holding at the lowest since at least June 1993, when Bloomberg began compiling the data.

The Bank of Ghana, which targets 2013 inflation at 9 percent according to its website, unexpectedly lifted its key interest rate by 100 basis points to 16 percent last month to stabilize the weakening currency amid the rising inflation rate.

Rebased Index

The statistics agency will publish inflation figures using an index that sets 2012 as the base on June 19, Nyarko said. The series will scrap items that have been phased out of the market, add new ones and revise weightings, she said.

“Consumption patterns have changed over time,” she said. Inflation data starting from January will be given, Nyarko said. The announcement of rebased figures had earlier been postponed because of technical problems. The release, planned for today, was pushed back a week because of delays in getting data from some regions, Nyarko said.

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