DAR ES SALAAM, Oct 23 (Reuters) - Tanzania’s current account deficit for the year to August widened 16.6 percent year-on-year to $4.266 billion following a decline in receipt of aid and loans, its central bank said on Wednesday.
The bank said current transfers to one of Africa’s biggest per capita aid recipients, fell 24.3 percent to $815.2 million in the year to August from $1.076 billion a year ago.
The central bank did not explain the fall in the official transfers, which are composed of aid and loans from external sources.
“During the year ending August 2013, the overall balance of payments recorded a surplus of $694.3 million compared to $133.6 million recorded in the corresponding period in 2012,” the Bank of Tanzania said in its latest monthly economic review, attributing it to a rise in net inflows under capital and financial accounts.
The country’s total import bill rose 2 percent to $13.034 billion, while exports fell by 0.3 percent to $8.321 billion from a year ago.
Gold exports, the country’s top foreign exchange earner, fell to $1.86 billion in the year to August from $2.23 billion previously on lower export volumes and world market prices.
Tanzania, with a population of around 45 million, is Africa’s fourth-largest gold producer after South Africa, Ghana and Mali. Gold accounted for 48.8 percent of the country’s total non-traditional exports, down from 53.4 percent a year ago.
Tourism earnings increased 14.2 percent to $1.79 billion from $1.57 billion a year ago, on higher tourist arrivals.
Gross official foreign exchange reserves held by the central bank rose to $4.563 billion in the year to August, or about 4.5 months of import cover, from $3.858 billion a year ago. (Reporting by Fumbuka Ng‘wanakilala; Editing by George Obulutsa; editing by Patrick Graham)