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"Price Of Groundnut On A Downturn Trend"

Nov 2, 2009, 1:15 PM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

The price of groundnuts, the country's main cash crop has generally been on a downward trend over the last year, although recent months have begun to show a recovery, Governor of the Central Bank of the Gambia Bamba Saho said on Friday.

"September 2009 recorded a price of US$990.91 per ton, which is approximately 32.7 lower than what the price was one year before," Governor Saho told journalists at a press conference convened by the Monetary Policy Committee of the Central Bank.

He stated that revised forecasts from the Gambia Bureau of Statistics indicated that real economic growth for 2009 is projected at 5.0 percent, premised on continued growth in agriculture and rebound in industrial growth.

"For two year in a row, agriculture is one of the main drivers of growth in the Gambian economy," he said.

According to the Central Bank Governor, money supply grew by 20.7 percent in the year to end-September 2009, compared to 11.1 percent a year earlier.

"Government fiscal operations in the first nine months of 2009 indicated that a total revenue and grants amounted to D3.2 billion, compared to D2.8 billion in the corresponding period in 2008," he added.

Governor Saho disclosed that the International Monetary Fund expects global economy to contract by 1.1 percent in 2009, and to grow by 3.1 percent in 2009 but cautioned against premature exits from the fiscal stimulus and accommodative monetary policy measures.

"Exports have been slashed and capital flows, severely disrupted," he said, adding that IMF projections for 2010 in the region are that growth will rebind to 4 percent and more than 5 percent in later years.

He further stated that the price of crude oil, which has more than doubled this year rose above US$81 a barrel, a new high for the year, reflecting increased demand from China and other emerging countries.

On inflationary outlook, Governor Saho noted that inflation is favourable for the remainder of 2009. He however added that the steady rise in the price of crude oil and unforeseen external shocks are risks to the outlook.