:: Balance of Payments

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COMMENTS
External sector estimates, indicate that the overall balance of payments (BoP) position narrowed by US $15.0 million to negative US $382.0 million at end-2002 from negative US $397.0 million at end-2001. This was on account of an improvement in both the capital and financial account and the current account. The capital and financial account balance increased by US $163 million to US $603 million reflecting an increase in project assistance grants. The current account balance narrowed by US $81.0 million to negative US $649.0 million. The current account balance improvement stemmed from the lower deficit on the merchandise trade balance, which narrowed by US $78.0 million to negative US $284.0 million.

The narrowing of the trade balance was largely on account of increased non-traditional exports (NTEs) coupled with a decrease in merchandise imports.

Estimates indicate that the stock of external debt fell by 2.4% to US $7,116.4 million in 2002. The decrease in the debt stock was due to principal loan repayments and debt relief under the Enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative. Reduction of the external debt burden to sustainable levels remains a major challenge. To this end, the country is expected to reach the Completion Point under the Enhanced HIPC Initiative in 2003 at which time maximum debt relief will be received from both the multilateral and bilateral creditors.

 
  Year End Overall Balance million US$ Direction Change
External Sector Estimates 2002 -382.0 Decrease 15.0%
Capital & Financial A/c Balance 2002 603.0   163.0%
Current A/c Balance 2002 -649.0   81.0%
NTEs (Trade Balance) 2002 284.0 Decrease 78.0%
External Debt (Debt Stock) 2002 7,116.4 Decrease 2.4%