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APIA, Samoa (April 27, 1998 - PACNEWS)---Samoa has recorded its highest monthly export earnings in 10 years.

According to the latest figures of selected economic indicators released by the Central Bank, Samoa earned 5.3 million tala ($US 1.81 million) in February as a result of increased sales of copra and coconut oil.

However, the bank says imports also rose --by 7.9 million tala ($US 2.7 million) over January's figure-- resulting in a bigger merchandise trade deficit, totaling17.3 million tala ($US 5.9 million).

Compared to the same period last year, the deficit is 17 percent lower, the bank reports.

Tourism earnings fell 29 percent in February, compared to January, to 7 million tala ($US 2.4 million).

Total earnings for the first two months of this year, at 16.8 million tala ($US 5.7 million), are 13 percent higher than for the same period last year.

The Central Bank also noted that private remittances for February rose 48 percent, to 7.4 million tala ($US 2.5 million).

The total money supply declined 1.1 million tala ($US 377,300) to 195 million tala ($US 66.8 million).

Samoa’s inflation dropped to 9.5 percent, from 10.2 percent at the end of January.

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