The National Institute of Statistics (INS) unveiled earlier this week the bad figures of Tunisian foreign trade for the first eight months of the year, announcing a trade deficit of 12.9 billion dinars, or 704 million dinars more than 2018 and 2.8 billion dinars more than in 2017.
Excluding energy, the deficit amounts to 8 billion dinars. This means that the deficit in the energy balance stands at more than 4.8 billion dinars in the first eight months of the year, up by 1 billion dinars compared to 2018. It represents 37.6% of the country’s total trade deficit.
This worsening of the energy balance deficit is the result of increased imports of energy products which reached 6.6 billion dinars at the end of August, against 5.4 billion at the end of August 2018 and 3.8 billion at the end of August 2017.
These imports consist mainly of refined products for 4 billion dinars (+ 16.7%) and natural gas for 2.5 billion dinars (+ 71.6%).
On the other hand, Tunisia did not import crude oil in 2019, unlike in the previous year when its purchases of crude oil amounted to 792 million dinars.
On the export side, the country’s sales in energy products totaled 1.8 billion dinars at the end of August, against 1.5 billion in 2018. These include crude oil (1.3 billion dinars) and refined products (458.2 million dinars).