Tanzania Gold Exports Rise 44% in Year Through April

Gold exports from Tanzania, which vies with Mali to be Africa’s third-biggest producer of the precious metal, grew 44 percent in the 12 months through April to $2.3 billion, the Bank of Tanzania said.

The deficit in the current account, the broadest measure of trade in good and services, more than doubled to $5.5 billion from $2.5 billion a year earlier, the Dar es Salaam-based central bank said in a report posted on its website today.

“This was partly due to an increase in import of goods, particularly oil,” the central bank said. The widening current account was partly responsible for the balance of payments swinging to a deficit of $163.1 million in the 12 months through April from a surplus of $45.9 in the same period a year earlier, the central bank said.

Exports in the year ending April were $7 billion compared to $6 billion a year earlier. Imports increased 36 percent to $12.8 billion, according to the report.

Commodity shipments from East Africa’s second-biggest economy declined 3.6 percent to $678 million, mainly due to a decline in coffee and cashew nut exports and a lower price for tobacco.

At the end of April, foreign-exchange reserves stood at $3.5 billion, enough to cover 3.7 months of projected imports, while external debt was $10 billion, the central bank said.

Following are agricultural exports in the 12 months through April over the past two years:

($ million)
             2012       2011
Tobacco      33.3       43.5
Coffee       21.4       21.0
Cotton       12.2        9.6
Cashew Nuts  15.3       18.5
Tea           7.7        6.3
Cloves       10.2        1.1
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