Gold output registers 30pc first quarter surge

16Aug 2016
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Gold output registers 30pc first quarter surge
  • • The value of the produced gold went up by 8.3 per cent between March 2015 and March 2016 from US$275.8 million to US$298.6 million

Gold production by large scale miners increased by nearly 30 per cent in the first quarter of 2016 compared to the corresponding period in 2015, the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) has said.

According to the Economic Bulletin for the Quarter Ending March 2016, the volume of gold produced went up to 9,856.2 kilogrammes from 7,588.6 kilogrammes. Bullion output in the last quarter of 2015 was 10,511.9 kilogrammes, which was 6.2 per cent more than the March 2016 production.

“Gold and diamond produced by large scale miners increased to US$345.0 million in the quarter ending March 2016 from US$295.8 million recorded in the corresponding quarter in 2015,” the central bank notes in the report.

The value of the produced gold went up by 8.3 per cent between March 2015 and March 2016 from US$275.8 million to US$298.6 million. In the quarter ending December 2015, it was US$282.7 million.

As for diamond, nearly 76,676 carats worth US$46.4 million was produced in the first quarter compared to 69,275.1 carats worth US$20 million in the same period in 2015. Output during October-December 2015 was 35,083.1 carats valued at US$12.3 million.

“While the volume of gold produced went up to 9,856.2 kilogrammes from 7,588.6 kilogrammes, diamond production also increased, somewhat marginally, to 76,675.9 carats from 69,275.1 carats 2015,” the report says.

During the quarter, mineral exports increased by 19.7 per cent compared to the same quarter in 2015. The exports amounted to US$390 million during January-March 2016 compared to US$325.8 million and US$319.4 million in the first and fourth quarters of last year respectively.

BoT figures show that gold accounted for 97.3 per cent of the total mineral earnings. Its exports during the three quarters amounted to US$379.6 million, US$295.7 million and US$294.9 million.

Diamond exports fetched US$0.1 million in quarter one of 2016, US$20 million during January-March 2015 and US$12.3 million in quarter four last year.

“The value of gold exports went up by 28.4 percent to US$379.6 million (Jan-March, 2016) on account of an increase in export volume,” BoT notes in the report.

“World market prices of most commodities were lower than the levels of the preceding quarter, save for gold,” the central bank adds.

The price of gold was higher in the quarter ending March 2016 than in the preceding quarter, as investors’ demand for gold as safe haven increased amid growing volatility in global equity markets.

Last year, gold exports fetched US$1.27 billion in export earnings compared to US$1.32 billion last year and US$1.64 billion in 2014. The precious metal is currently the third top foreign exchange earner after being overtaken by manufactured goods.

Travel trade receipts dominated by tourism top the earnings chart.

Tanzania is Africa's fourth-largest gold producer.

Together with tourism receipts, rising gold prices in recent months have contributed in narrowing the country’s current account deficit. BoT data show that until May this year, the current account deficit shrank by 55 per cent benefiting from a jump in tourist arrivals and rising gold prices.

The current account gap narrowed to US$1.9 billion in the 12 months period from US$4.2 billion a year earlier, the central bank said in the June Monthly Economic Review.

During the year, gold exports jumped to US$1.28 billion from US$1.23 billion in the year ending May 2015 but was lower than the US$1.51 billion performance in 2014.