The bank said the deficit in January had shrunk to US$ 131 mn from US$ 228 mn in the same month a year ago.
rnPresenting its growth-oriented budget last week, the government said its expects the deficit to expand slightly for the whole of 2002, to US$ 1.25 bn from US$ 1.16 bn in 2001.
rnEconomists expect mild recovery forecasted for this year to raise import demand further.
rnExports picked up by 2.7% year-on-year to US$ 343 mn in January, reversing the 12.3 percent decline in January 2001.
rnImports fell 15.7 percent to US$ 474 mn in January from US$ 562 mn in the corresponding month of 2001.
rnThe bank said the improvement in exports was mostly due to strong sales of textile and apparels.
rnThe key textile and garment sector saw exports climb up 16 percent to US$ 183 mn in January, 2002, largely attributable to higher volumes of garments to USA and European countries.
rnHowever, the combined value of all other industrial exports declined by 3.7 percent year on year.