Dar es Salaam. Zanzibar’s current account balance contracted to a deficit of $51.1 million in the year to December 31, 2018 from a surplus of $46.5 million in the corresponding period in 2017, mostly driven by growth of imports coupled with a decline of exports earnings from cloves.

The Bank of Tanzania economic Review for January 2019 has shown that earnings from export of goods and services declined by 11.3 per cent in the year ending 14 December 2018 to $197.4 million.

The decrease was attributed to a decline in export earnings of cloves to $10.4 million from $55.9 million in the year to December 31, 2017, following a fall in the volume exported owing to cyclical nature of the crop.

Export earnings of seaweed increased to $4.2 million, from $2.7 million the year to December 31, 2017, on account of increase in the volume exported. Export earnings from fish and fish products increased due to the growing market for anchovies in the Great Lakes region, particular ly DRC.

A surplus of $104.3 million was recorded in the services account, which was higher by 13.1 per cent compared with to the year to December 31, 2017.

The outturn was mainly driven by increase in receipts from tourism activities.

Value of imports of goods (f.o.b) and services rose by 35.5 percent from $214.3 million in the year ending December 2017 mainly due to increase in imports of goods.

All categories of goods import recorded increase during the year ending December 2018, with consumer goods recording the highest growth.