NAIROBI, March 29 (Reuters) - The current account deficit of Mauritius widened in 2017 compared with the previous year, hit by lower exports of goods, central bank data showed on Thursday.
The Indian Ocean island is aiming to expand its financial services industry, business outsourcing, luxury real estate and medical tourism to broaden its economy from a reliance on tourism, textiles and sugar production.
The deficit widened to 30.2 billion rupees ($0.9 billion) from 18.3 billion rupees, and, as a percentage of gross domestic product, the deficit stood at 6.5 percent against 4.2 percent, the Bank of Mauritius said in a statement.
“The deficit on the goods account widened because of rising imports and falling exports. It increased from 72.2 billion rupees (representing 16.6 percent of GDP) in 2016 to 90.5 billion rupees (representing 19.6 percent of GDP) in 2017,” the bank said.
It said year-on-year exports of goods fell from 84.5 billion rupees in 2016 to 81.3 billion rupees in 2017 while imports rose by 9.7 percent, from 156.7 billion rupees in 2016 to 171.8 billion rupees in 2017. (Reporting by Jean Paul Arouff Editing by Maggie Fick and Peter Graff)