June 17, 2020 / 2:11 PM / 2 months ago

UPDATE 1-Ghana GDP growth slows to 4.9% y/y in first quarter

(Adds detail, background on coronavirus crisis)

ACCRA, June 17 (Reuters) - Ghana’s economic growth slowed in the first quarter to 4.9% year-on-year versus 6.7% in the same period last year, official data showed on Wednesday, partly due to a sharp fall in construction as the country fought to contain the coronavirus.

Ghana has had one of Sub-Saharan Africa’s fastest-growing economies in the past few years, but country has cut its 2020 growth forecasts after measures to contain the virus stifled business activity.

In January to March, construction shrank nearly 7% versus the same quarter in 2019, the state statistics service said.

A three-week lockdown of Ghana’s two main economic centres Accra and Kumasi imposed at the end of March, is likely to have weighed further on growth in the second quarter.

The central bank last month downgraded its growth forecast for 2020 to between 2% and 2.5% from an earlier expectation of 6.8% due to the impact of the pandemic. The economy grew 6.5% in 2019.

Despite rising numbers of COVID-19 cases, Ghana was one of the first countries in West Africa to trial easing lockdown measures in April in an effort to protect the economy. It has so far confirmed more than 12,000 cases of COVID-19 and 58 deaths.

Producer price inflation rose to 8.4% year-on-year in May compared with 7.4% a month earlier, with the mining and quarrying sector recording the highest inflation rate and manufacturing the lowest, the statistics service said in a separate statement. (Reporting by Christian Akorlie Writing by Alessandra Prentice Editing by Bate Felix and Jane Merriman)

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