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Trade deficit narrows to 1,211.7 MD in January 2018 (INS)

The trade balance deficit has narrowed slightly to 1,211.7 million dinars (MD) in January 2018, compared with 1,221.8 million dinars a year earlier, TAP reports.

The coverage rate, therefore, recorded a significant improvement of 7.2 points to 72.1% against 64.8% in January 2017, TAP reports the   National Institute of Statistics (INS) announcement.

The non-energy balance of the trade deficit was reduced to 858 MD and the deficit in the energy balance was 353.7 MD (29.2% of the total deficit) against 309.2 MD during the same period in 2017.

According to a document published Wednesday by the INS, this deficit is explained, mainly, by the imbalance of trade with some countries, such as China (-264.4 MD), Russia (-193.2 MD), Turkey (-188.7 MD), Algeria (-112.4 MD) and Italy (-57.0 MD).

On the other hand, the trade balance registered a surplus with other countries mainly with Tunisia’s top partner France (184.8 MD), Libya (44.7 MD) and Morocco (39.3 MD).

The INS also reported a sharp acceleration in the growth rate of exports during the month of January 2018.

In fact, exports grew by 38.9% against 9.6% during the month of January 2017.

In value, exports reached 3,129.5 MD against 2,253 MD during the month of January 2017.

Similarly, imports maintained a remarkable growth rate, posting an increase of 24.9% against 34.6% during the month of January 2017.

In value, imports reached the value of 4,341.2 MD against 3,474.8 MD during the month of January 2017.

The remarkable increase in exports is essentially due to the noticeable rise recorded in energy exports by 273.2%, following the growth of the country’s crude oil sales (207.5 MD vs. 55.1 MD) and refined products (26.7 MD vs. 7.6 MD).

The agriculture and agri-food sector also posted a 93.7% increase following the increase in our sales of olive oil (236.2 MD vs. 71.9 MD) and dates (84, 6 MD vs. 59.1 MD).

Similarly, the mechanical and electrical industries sector went up by 26.4%, the textile and clothing and leather sector by 26.7% and the manufacturing sector by 28.2%.

On the other hand, the mining, phosphates and derivatives sector recorded a 25.1% decrease, following the decrease of phosphoric acid exports (31.9 MD against 39.4 MD).

Regarding imports, the increase observed in January 2018 mainly concerns the energy sector, which saw a 58% growth, as a result of the rise in purchases of refined products (432.5 MD against 286.6 MD).

This was the same for mines, phosphates and derivatives 46.2%, raw materials and semi-finished products 41.4%, capital goods 24.5%.

On the other hand, the basic agricultural and food products sector registered a virtual stagnation (+ 0.6%). Non-energy imports went up by 21%.

TunisianMonitorOnLine (Source:TAP)

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