Tanzania current account deficit narrows 56.6 pct in year to Nov

A crane arranges containers at the Port of Zanzibar on the island of Zanzibar July 19, 2012. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

DAR ES SALAAM (Reuters) – Tanzania’s current account deficit narrowed 56.6 percent in the year to November, helped by a surge in earnings from tourism and gold exports and a decline in imports, its central bank said on Thursday.

The gap narrowed to $1.95 billion in the 12 months to November from $4.49 billion in the same period in 2015, the Bank of Tanzania said in its latest monthly economic report.

The bank said overall balance of payments swung into a surplus of $246.6 million from a deficit of $95.2 million in the year ending November 2015.

Imports of goods and services fell 15.8 percent to $10.257 billion due to a decline in capital and consumer goods purchases, while total exports rose to $9.426 billion from $8.855 billion previously, the bank said.

Oil, which dominates the goods import bill, went up by 7.8 percent to $3.08 billion due to an increase in demand.

Earnings from tourism, the main foreign exchange source, rose to $2.21 billion from $2.01 billion previously, buoyed by more visitor arrivals.

Gold, the other main source of foreign income, brought in $1.44 billion, up from $1.17 billion previously, reflecting higher export volumes and global prices.

Tanzania, which has a population of around 50 million, is Africa’s fourth-largest gold producer after South Africa, Ghana and Mali.

The value of traditional exports rose by 21.2 percent to $943.3 million, driven by increased output and higher prices of tobacco, cashew nuts, cotton and tea.

Gross official foreign exchange reserves held by the central bank reached $4.25 billion in the year to November, or about four months of import cover.

(Reporting by Fumbuka Ng’wanakilala)


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Godwin Okafor is a Financial Journalist, Internet Social Entrepreneur and Founder of Naija247news Media Limited. He has over 16 years experience in financial journalism. His experience cuts across traditional and digital media. He started his journalism career at Business Day, Nigeria and founded Naija247news Media in 2010. Godwin holds a Bachelors degree in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from the Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos. He is an alumni of Lagos Business School and a Fellow of the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton Seminar for Business Journalists). Over the years, he has won a number of journalism awards. Godwin is the chairman of Emmerich Resources Limited, the publisher of Naija247news.

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