Tanzania BOP surplus $321.5 mln in year to Jan Sat Apr 2, 2011 9:43am GMT Tanzania's balance of payments recorded a surplus of $321.5 million in the year to January, down from a surplus of $529.8 million a year ago, the central bank said in its latest monthly economic review. Here are some of the main points from the Bank of Tanzania's report: * In the year to January the current account deficit widened by 5.1 percent to $2.27 billion. * Gross official foreign exchange reserves held by the central bank rose to $3.92 billion, or 5.2 months of import cover, from $3.58 billion a year earlier. * The average interbank interest rate rose to 7.93 percent in January from 5.26 percent in December. * The average deposit rate stood at 2.41 percent in January, unchanged from December, while lending rates were at 14.66 percent, down from 14.92 percent a month earlier. * Tanzania's national debt decreased by 2.1 percent to $10.967 billion. * Gold, the country's top foreign exchange earner, fetched $1.579 billion in the year to January from $1.269 billion a year ago on higher gold prices at the world market. * The price of gold increased to an average of $1,244.6 per troy ounce from $994.3 per troy ounce a year ago. Tanzania is Africa's fourth-largest gold producer. * Tourism earnings increased to $1.3 billion from $1.17 billion a year ago, partly helped by the recovery of the global economy from the financial crisis. * Revenue collection in the month of January amounted to 433.4 billion shillings, representing 91.7 percent of the target. * Imports of goods and services rose by 18.4 percent to $9.04 billion in the period from $7.64 billion a year before mostly due to a rise in oil prices and consumer goods imports. * During the period, the average oil price at the world market increased by 23.3 percent, while the value of imported consumer goods jumped by 24.6 percent. * Earnings from traditional exports -- tobacco, cotton, coffee, cashew nuts and tea -- increased 22.4 percent to $610 million, largely due to a significant increase in the value of exports of tobacco and cashew nuts. * Credit to the private sector grew at an annual rate of 21.5 percent in January from 9.8 percent recorded a year ago.