Monday, September 17, 2012

Refined Oil Imports Overtake Crude. Trade Deficit Widens

TOR, Tema, Ghana

The import of refined oil products between January and July, this year totalled $1.3 billion while crude oil imports amounted to $557 million, the Bank of Ghana (BoG) recently stated at its 52nd Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting in Accra.
While the development depicts the a high level of premium the country places on imported refined oil products vis-à-vis crude, its trade account deficit widened to $2 billion from January to July 2012 compared with a deficit of $1.3 billion in the same period of 2011.
Some players in the oil industry have indicated that it is inexpensive to import and sell refined oil products.
But the workers’ union of the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) has often protested against the shift towards the importation of more refined oil products, saying the move would hamper efforts at sustaining TOR.
CITY& BUSINESS GUIDE attempted to contact management of TOR to comment on the current situation of the company, but the calls went unanswered.
Gas imports through the West Africa Gas Pipeline were estimated at $107 million while total merchandise imports were estimated at $10.4 billion, representing a year-on-year growth of 18.3 percent over the same period last year.
Oil import, including crude, gas and refined products, amounted to $2 billion compared to $1.9 billion recorded in the corresponding period in 2011.
Total non-oil imports amounted to $8.4 billion. Of this, capital imports were estimated at $1.9 billion, intermediate imports amounted to $4.1 billion and consumption imports $1.84 billion.
Total merchandise exports from January to July 2012 grew by 12.9 percent on a year-on-year basis to $8.4 billion mainly driven by high export receipts from gold, cocoa beans and crude oil.
Exports of gold amounted to $3.5 billion, cocoa beans, $1.8 billion and crude oil $1.6 billion. Other export receipts, including non-traditional exports, amounted to $1.5 billion.
By Samuel Boadi

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