Tunisia: trade deficit widens by 15%, comes close to 10 billion dinars

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    Tunisia’s trade deficit has widened by 15% in the first seven months of the year, compared to the end of July 2017 to 9.94 billion dinars, according to external trade indicators released this Thursday by National Institute of Statistics (INS).

    Over this period, imports went up 20.8% year-on-year. They amounted to 33.5 billion dinars, against 27.7 billion at the end of July 2017.

    As for exports, they continue to grow at a brisk pace to 23.5 billion dinars, up 23.3%, against 19.1 billion a year earlier.

    The coverage rate thus improved by 1.4 percentage points compared to the end of July 2017, reaching 70.3%.

    In detail, the increase observed in exports during the seven months of 2018 concerns the majority of sectors.

    In fact, the agriculture and agri-food industries sector recorded an increase of 67.6% following the higher sales of olive oil (1,471 MD) and dates (496,4 MD), the manufacturing sector by 28.0%, textiles and clothing and leather by 21.0%, mechanical and electrical industries by 17.3% and the energy sector by 9.3%.

    On the other hand, exports of the mining, phosphates and derivatives sector remained down 4.8%.

    Imports growth is mainly due to the increase in all sectors. Thus, the increase concerned energy (+ 37.8%), raw materials and semi-finished products (+ 23.9%), capital goods (+ 18.4%), the mining sector, phosphates and derivatives (+ 11.1%) and the agricultural and basic food products sector (+7.4%).

    The balance of the trade balance shows a deficit, following the deficit recorded with certain countries, such as China (-3.045 billion dinars), Italy (-1.553 billion), Turkey (-1.210 billion), Algeria ( -749.6 million dinars) and Russia (-747.1 million dinars).

    On the other hand, the balance of the trade balance registered a surplus with other countries mainly with Tunisia’s first partner France with 1,941 billion dinars, Libya with 527.8 million dinars and Morocco with 222.6 millions.

    In addition, the trade balance deficit excluding energy is reduced to 6.7 billion dinars. Indeed, the deficit of the energy balance is 3.24 billion dinars (32.6% of the total deficit) against 2.12 billion dinars during the same period in 2017

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