Zanzibar’s current account surplus shrinks to US$19m

23Nov 2017
The Guardian
Zanzibar’s current account surplus shrinks to US$19m
  • • The Bank of Tanzania associates the surplus decline in the non-capital transactions with the rest of the world to mostly decrease in goods exports and increase in service payments

Zanzibar’s current account balance recorded a surplus of US$19.7 million in the year ending August 2017 compared with a surplus of US$40.4 million during the corresponding period last year, the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) has said.

This August, Zanzibar exported about 490 tonnes of cloves worth US$4.1 million exported compared with 480 tonnes in the corresponding month in 2016. File photo

According to the September Monthly Economic Review (MER), this performance was associated mostly with a decline in goods exports and increase in service payments.

“The goods account deficit widened to US$103.4 million, from US$70.4 million in the year ending August 2016, while surplus in the services account declined by 4.1 per cent to a surplus of US$85.9 million,” the central bank notes in the new report.

Exports

“Goods and services account registered a deficit of US$17.5 million, down from a surplus of US$19.2 million in the year ending August 2016,” it adds.

Export of goods and services declined by17.3 per cent during the period to US$172.0 million, owing to a weak export performance of all goods export, except for fish and fish products. BoT says the value of cloves exports declined on account of decrease in export volume and price in the world market.

Volume of cloves exported felt to 2,253 tonnes from 6,207 tonnes in the year ending August 2016, which was a decline of 63.7 per cent, while average price in the world market declined to US$7,846 per tonnefrom US$8,064 per tonne. In August 2017, about 490 tonnes of cloves worth US$4.1 million were exported compared with 480 tonnes in the corresponding month in 2016.

In the year ending August 2017, the value of seaweed exports amounted to US$1.7 million, which was a decline of 27.6 per cent from the amount realized in the year to August 2016. Exports of manufacture goods, which includes re-export of imported manufactured goods, declined to US$4.9 million from US$9.3million in the year to August 2016.

“It’s worth to note that, during the year ending August 2017, share of manufactured goods exports in total goods export rose to 19.6 per cent from 13.1 per cent in the year to August 2016,” the MER reads.

“The balance in the service account declined from a surplus of US$85.9 million in the year ending August 2017 from US$89.6 million in the year to August 2016, partly on account of an increase in foreign payments. Foreign payments amounted to US$61.2 million compared with US$47.0 million in the year toAugust, largely driven by travel and transportation,” it adds.

ImportsZanzibar’s import bill increased to US$189.5 million in the year to August 2017 from US$188.7 million inthe year ending August 2016, following an increase in the value of imported intermediate(particularly oil imports) and consumer goods.

The value of oil imports increased from US$38.2 million in the year ending August 2016 to US$47.7 million. Consumer goods import, which accounted for 32.1 per cent of total imports, rose by 79.8 per cent in the year ending August 2017 from the year to August 2016. The increase was driven by imports of food and foodstuffs.

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