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Economic Outlook: Growth estimates shrouded by severe global risks - RMB Report

BY: Business Desk Report
 Daniel Kavishe — Rand Merchant Bank’s Economist for Sub-Saharan Africa
Daniel Kavishe — Rand Merchant Bank’s Economist for Sub-Saharan Africa

Rand Merchant Bank (RMB), the corporate and investment banking arm of FirstRand Bank Limited, has said the negative effects of the Russia-Ukraine war continues to reverberate throughout Africa’s economies.

Coupled with the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the bank which has First National Bank Ghana as a division, noted that this is adding to higher oil and food prices.

“Significant price increases and supply-side challenges have been the norm since the beginning of the year. Wheat and other cereal prices rose sharply and with the expectation of higher inflation, businesses have already increased their prices for goods and services,” a release copied to the Daily Graphic yesterday said.

It said massive disruptions over the past two years due to the pandemic resulted in business input costs increasing by 10 per cent to 15 per cent.

It said further input costs should be expected this year as the global economy has not re-opened fully adding that “China is still restricting movement as a result of the pandemic and the war is affecting trade in Europe.”

Growth estimates

Consequently, the release said “growth estimates for this year are shrouded by severe global risks, such as the Russia-Ukraine war, higher global interest rates, and tepid demand given the latent effects of the pandemic. Domestically, fiscal risks, FX liquidity challenges and higher inflation costs are likely going to affect the pace of growth”.

The Bank of Ghana opted to hike the main policy rate by 250 basis points (bp), raising it to 17 per cent in March this year, in an attempt to arrest inflation.

According to Rand Merchant Bank’s Economist for Sub-Saharan Africa, Daniel Kavishe, “the Marginal Propensity to Consume (MPC) has seemingly opted to frontload its hiking cycle as opposed to taking a staggered approach.

“Global economic developments, particularly the ongoing war in Eastern Europe and its effect on global growth and inflation, and the 25bp increase in the United States Federal (US fed) funds rate, served as key economic factors that supported the committee's decision”, he added.

Fiscal changes

The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, recently announced key fiscal changes in view of Ghana’s current fiscal and economic challenges.
Changes, the release said were introduced in both revenue and expenditure that would have a material effect on the budget.

“We contend that while government will make strict cuts in certain areas, key line items such as grants to other government units, interest payments and compensation of employees will remain sticky.

Capital expenditure, on the other hand, is likely the area where expenditure can be rationalised as has been seen in other governments in periods where expenditure growth needs to be curtailed,” Mr Kavishe said.

“Total revenue and grants are likely to improve by 37.0 per cent relative to 2021, versus government’s assumption of 48 per cent year on year (y/y). This implies full year figures of GH¢93bn versus government’s estimates of GH¢100.5bn”, Mr Kavishe.