The Monetary Policy Committee Summary for March 2017, shows a surplus of $573 million compared to a deficit of $574.1 million at the same period in 2016.
“This outturn was attributed to higher exports receipts, mainly on account of relatively strong performance of gold export receipts and declining imports,” the report said.
According to the central bank, the level of gross foreign assets was $6.4 billion which is equivalent to 3.8 months of import cover, by the end of February 2017.
“This compares favourably with $4.67 billion, equivalent to 3.1 months of import cover in the same period of 2016,” it adds.
The Bank says the near term upside risks to the trade account includes the US Fed fund rate hikes which could adversely impact gold prices, especially since the performance of the first two months hinged strongly on higher gold export receipts.
The balance of payments outlook, remains positive based on expected increased volumes of crude oil and gas production at the Tweneboa, Enyenra and Ntomme (TEN) oil fields and the Sankofa Fields to provide a further boost for export receipts, it says.
However, upside risks such as Fed fund rate hikes and strengthening of the US dollar could lead to tighter external financing conditions with adverse implications for the balance of payments, exchange rate and the inflation outlook.
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi