July 24, 2024

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Ghana’s Inflation Cools to Two-Year Low

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Ghana’s Inflation battle against inflation appears to be yielding positive results. The country’s inflation rate for June 2024 dropped to 22.8%, marking its lowest level since April 2022. This represents a significant decline from May’s figure of 23.1% and continues the downward trend observed since the beginning of 2024.

The month-on-month inflation rate also witnessed a decrease, falling from 3.2% in May to 2.9% in June. This positive development suggests a gradual stabilization of prices in the Ghanaian economy.

While food inflation remains a concern, rising slightly to 24% in June from 22.6% in May, the overall decline in inflation offers a glimmer of hope for Ghanaians who have been grappling with rising costs of living.

Bank of Ghana Cautious Optimism and Policy Decisions

The Bank of Ghana (BoG) has played a crucial role in Ghana’s fight against inflation. Recognizing the downward trend in inflation through the latter part of 2023, the BoG loosened its monetary policy by cutting the policy rate from 30.00% to 29.00% in January 2024.

This initial policy shift resulted in a slight decline in inflation in February 2024. However, a temporary surge in inflation to 25.8% in March forced the BoG to pause its rate loosening strategy.

With the renewed decline in inflation since March, analysts project further rate cuts when the BoG’s Monetary Policy Committee convenes on July 29th, 2024. As a Bloomberg analyst noted, “a deceleration in inflationary momentum is likely to bolster the central bank’s confidence in resuming monetary easing this month, potentially implementing another modest 100 basis point cut.”

Ghana’s current benchmark interest rate of 29% remains one of the highest in Africa. This highlights the delicate balancing act the BoG faces in curbing inflation without hindering economic growth.

Diverging Monetary Policy Approaches in West Africa

The contrasting inflation trends in Ghana and Nigeria, present an interesting case study. While Ghana experiences a cooling down of inflation, Nigeria faces an acceleration, with inflation reaching 33.95% in May 2024.

This divergence in inflation rates is reflected in the monetary policy approaches adopted by the central banks of both countries. The Bank of Ghana is pursuing a rate loosening cycle, aiming to stimulate economic activity. Conversely, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is implementing a rate-tightening strategy to combat inflation.

The CBN’s next Monetary Policy Committee meeting is scheduled for July 22nd and 23rd, where further policy decisions are anticipated.

Debt Restructuring and IMF Support

Ghana’s efforts to combat inflation are intertwined with its ongoing debt restructuring program. To secure the second tranche of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) $3 billion extended credit facility, Ghana recently reached an agreement with its $13 billion bondholders.

The agreement paves the way for a debt exchange deal similar to the one implemented with local bondholders in December 2022. This program aims to achieve debt relief of $4.7 billion from Eurobond holders, translating to a 36% haircut for creditors. The debt exchange is expected to commence in July and conclude by September-end.

Related: Ghana Secures $1.15 Billion Lifeline: Debt Restructuring Deal Paves Way for IMF and World Bank Funds

In addition to the commercial debt restructuring, Ghana has also secured a $2.8 billion debt relief agreement with its bilateral lenders. These efforts are crucial for reducing Ghana’s debt burden and creating fiscal space to address inflation and stimulate economic growth.

If You Ask Me

Ghana’s recent economic data offers reasons for cautious optimism. The declining inflation rate, coupled with the progress in debt restructuring, presents an opportunity for the Bank of Ghana to further ease monetary policy and support economic recovery. However, continued vigilance and strategic policy decisions will be critical to ensure sustainable economic growth and improved living standards for Ghanaians.

The contrasting situations in Ghana and Nigeria highlight the complexities of managing inflation in West Africa. While Ghana pursues a path of rate cuts and debt restructuring, Nigeria faces a different challenge, requiring a tighter monetary policy stance. The upcoming monetary policy decisions in both countries will be keenly watched.

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