By Fumbuka Ng'wanakilala Reuters - Dar es Salaam March 1, 2010 Tanzania's earnings from gold exports rose by 15.4 percent in 2009 on the back of higher world prices and increase in output, the east African country's central bank said in a report on Monday. Gold exports earned Tanzania $1.076 billion in 2009, up from $932.4 million the previous year. "During the year under review, the value of mineral exports amounted to $1,114.8 million, higher than $995.5 million recorded in 2008, owing to an increase in exports of gold and other minerals," said the central Bank of Tanzania's latest monthly economic review report. "During the year to December 2009, prices of gold increased by 11.6 percent to $972.7 per troy ounce. Meanwhile, export volumes of gold went up to 34.0 tonnes from 32.3 tonnes recorded during the previous year." Earnings from the precious metal accounted for 40.9 percent of total exports of goods last year. Total exports fell by 2.0 percent to $2.634 billion, largely due to a decrease in manufactured exports, which made up 18.9 percent of exports. Imports decreased by 10.9 percent last year to $5.77 billion, from $6.48 billion recorded in 2008. The value of oil imports declined despite an increase in the volume of imported oil from 2.3 million tons recorded in 2008 to 2.9 million last year. Import of capital goods declined to $2.5 billion last year, from $2.6 billion the previous year. Data from the central bank showed Tanzania's tourism sector was hit by the global financial crisis. "Available statistics show that from January to November 2009, the number of international arrivals was 697,131, being 10.6 percent lower than the number of arrivals recorded in the corresponding period last year," the bank said. Revenue collection in the first half of 2009/10 reached 2,306.6 billion shillings, or 90.8 percent of the target, equivalent to 7.4 percent of GDP. Tanzania's trade surplus nearly tripled to $428.9 million during the year ending December 2009 from a surplus of $148.2 million the previous year, boosted largely by the narrowing of the current account deficit by 23.4 percent to $2.2 billion. Foreign exchange reserves rose to $3.55 billion in December or 5.7 months of future import cover on goods and services from $3.54 billion a year before. "The increase in gross reserves is partly due to release of the second tranche of the ESF (Exogenous Shock Facility) amounting to $63.4 million in December 2009 by the IMF," said the bank.