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Tanzania narrows current account gap in 2012 -cbank

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(GlobalPost/GlobalPost)

DAR ES SALAAM, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Tanzania's current account deficit narrowed 14 percent to $3.44 billion in 2012 helped by a strong jump in export revenues even though gold export volumes dipped, its central bank said on Thursday.

Total exports of goods and services rose 17 percent to $8.68 billion, while the country's import bill for goods and services rose 5.3 percent to $12.67 billion.

Export volumes rose for most of the traditional cash crops, manufactured goods and horticultural products, the Bank of Tanzania said in its latest monthly economic report.

Revenues from tourism increased to $1.56 billion from $1.35 billion a year earlier as visitor numbers rose. Earnings from traditional exports - tobacco, cotton, coffee, cashew nuts and tea - jumped 40 percent to $956.7 million.

Gold exports, the country's top foreign exchange earner, edged down 2.4 percent to $2.17 billion. This was largely due to a fall in volumes although high prices on the world market underpinned revenues, the bank said.

Tanzania, with a population of around 45 million, is Africa's fourth-largest gold producer after South Africa, Ghana and Mali.

The value of oil imports rose 4.9 percent to $3.39 billion in the year to December, largely due to a rise in world market prices.

Gross official foreign exchange reserves held by the central bank rose to $4.07 billion in the year to December, or about four months of import cover, from $3.76 billion a year ago.

For more details, go to http://www.bot-tz.org/Publications/MonthlyEconomicReviews/MER_JAN_2013.pdf (Reporting by Fumbuka Ng'wanakilala; Editing by Richard Lough/Ruth Pitchford)

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