Resource-rich Ghana facing mixed economic prospects

Moody's: Economic growth is expected, though the nation's banks face risks.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |   Feb. 16, 2017 at 7:41 AM
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Feb. 16 (UPI) -- Emerging oil and gas producer Ghana could see its economy improve, though certain sectors are expected to face challenges, Moody's Investors Service found.

Moody's said it expected the Ghanaian economy to grow by 6.5 percent in gross domestic product this year, compared with an average annual growth rate of around 4 percent during the two-year period ending last year.

The International Monetary Fund concluded a regular report on Ghana last week, saying the country's fiscal deficit was higher than expected when measured against GDP. The deviation was attributed to "poor oil and non-oil revenue performance and large expenditure overruns."

Moody's last year said the country's expanding oil and gas prospects were expected to spur economic growth. British energy company Tullow Oil is working to develop the Jubilee field off the Ghanaian cost. Considered one of the larger fields in the region, the company expects to produce about 80,300 barrels of oil per day on average once in full swing.

In early February, Dutch energy and trading company Vitol started gas production using a floating facility offshore Ghana.

Despite gaining ground as an energy producer, the IMF in its report said there were large financial imbalances found in state-owned enterprises in the energy sector that need to be addressed.

From the perspective of Moody's, the country faces headwinds because its banks are faced with high asset risks.

"We expect asset risk for banks in Ghana to remain high over the coming quarters," Akintunde Majekodunmi, a senior analyst at Moody's, said in a statement.

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