Liberia’s GDP Estimated at US$898M

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Despite the constraint by the Ebola legacy and falling commodity prices on the world market, Liberia’s real Gross Domestic Products (GDP) grew from US$896.4m to US$898.9 million in 2015, says the Central Bank of Liberia 2015 annual report.

The report stated that the slight increase in real GDP was attributed to increases in the services, manufacturing and forestry sectors.

The CBL report said the annual headline inflation on the average was contained in single digits at 7.8 percent at the end of 2015 compared with 9.9 percent in 2014.

The decline in inflation was attributed to favorable global oil prices and the prudent management of liquidity by the CBL; despite the exchange rate pressure in the third quarter of the year, the 2015 CBL report noted.

It said commercial banks’ credit to all sectors of the economy at the end of November 2015 reflected a growth rate of 23.7 percent as well as growth in credit which was mainly triggered by the resumption of activities in the economy.

Distribution of credits, the report said revealed that the private sector gained momentum and accounted for 96.7 percent while the public sector was 3.3 percent.

During the year in review, interest rate developments showcased mixed variations. While the average lending, personal loan and mortgage rates all registered increases, the average rate on time deposit and certificate of deposits both declined.

The report further said that monetary aggregates at the end of October, 2015, registered increases compared to their levels recorded in 2014. Both Broad Money (M2) and Narrow Money (M1) supply grew by 9.5 percent, respectively.

The 2015 CBL report said from provisional estimates, Liberia’s overall balance of payments (BOP) position recorded a deficit of US$51.8 million in 2015, from a deficit of US$38.2 million in 2014, largely driven by 5.3 percent worsening in the current account deficit due to deterioration in trade.

The Liberian dollar on the average depreciated by 4.3 percent at the end of December 2015, compared with the rate recorded at the end of December, 2014.

The report said the depreciation in exchange rates were largely driven by deterioration in terms of trade, high demand for foreign exchange to service import bills and the increased Liberian dollar expenditure by the government.

The overall public debt stock of the country, it said recorded at the end of September 2015 declined by 6.2 percent to 31.7 percent of GDP compared with the 34.5 percent of GDP recorded at the end of September 2014.

The fall in the total public debt stock was attributed to declines in external and domestic debt stocks, respectively.

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