Tunisia: trade deficit hits 16.5 billion dinars at end of October

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    Tunisia’s trade deficit stood at 16.5 billion dinars in the first ten months of 2019, compared with 15.98 billion dinars in the same period of 2018, said the National Institute of Statistics (INS).

    Indeed, the results of Tunisia’s foreign trade at current prices show that exports increased by 10.5% (+ 20.2% during the same period of 2018) for to 36.7 billion dinars, against 33.2 billion at the end of October 2018.

    Similarly, imports grew by 8.2% (+ 20.5% in the same period of 2018) to 53.2 billion dinars, compared with 49.2 billion dinars a year earlier.

    The coverage rate improved by 1.5 percentage points compared with the first ten months of last year to 69%.

    Slowing down in export growth rates

    The increase posted in exports concerns the majority of sectors. Indeed, rises were recorded in the mining, phosphates and derivatives sector by + 26.7%, the energy sector by + 24.1%, the mechanical and electrical industries sector by + 14.7%., the textile and clothing and leather sector by + 7.5% and other manufacturing industries by + 17%.

    In contrast, the agriculture and agri-food sector recorded a -13.8% decrease, following the decline in the country’s olive oil sales (1,114 MD vs. 1,815 MD).

    The increase in imports concerned all products

    The increase in imports is due to the rise recorded in all products. Indeed, imports grew 23.7% for energy products due to the increase in the country’s natural gas purchases (3.209 MD vs. 1.768 MD).

    Imports also rose 10.7% for capital goods, 7.3% for basic agricultural and food products, 3.2% for mines, phosphates and derivatives and 1.7% for other raw and semi-finished products.

    Deficit by country, China still leading

    Tunisia’s trade deficit is attributed to the deficit recorded with certain countries, such as China (-4.96 billion dinars), Algeria (-2.65 billion), Italy (-2, 39 billion), Turkey (-2 billion) and Russia (-1.2 billion).

    On the other hand, the balance of the trade balance registered a surplus with other countries mainly France by 3.29 billion, Libya by 1.11 billion and Morocco by 334.8 million dinars.

    The energy deficit continues to worsen

    Excluding energy, the deficit in the trade balance stands at 10.15 billion dinars. Indeed, the deficit of the energy balance amounts, meanwhile, to 6.34 billion dinars representing 38.5% of the overall deficit, against 5.13 billion during the same period in 2018.

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