Tunisia’s trade deficit at current prices worsened during the 1st quarter of 2018 to 8.16 billion dinars (BD), announced Monday, the National Institute of Statistics (INS).
The trade balance shows a deficit of 8,164.9 million dinars (MD), following the deficit recorded with certain countries, namely China (-2,569.8 MD), Italy (-1,329.2 MD), Turkey (-1,031.0 MD), Russia (-621.6 MD) and Algeria (-608.1 MD).
On the other hand, the balance is in surplus with other countries mainly, France 1,729.5 MD, Libya 448.6 MD and Morocco of 209.8 MD.
Excluding energy, the deficit in the trade balance was reduced to 5,584.8 MD and the deficit in the energy balance to 2,580.1 MD (31.6% of the total deficit) against 1,903.8 MD during the same period in 2017, according to the INS.
Exports up 26.6%
Exports edged up 26.6% against 12.7% during the same period in 2017. In value, they reached 20,354.6 MD against 16,072.3 MD during the same period in 2017.
The increase in exports was in most sectors, according to the INS, with the agriculture and agro-food industries sector posting a 71.8% increase as a result of the rise in the sales of olive oil (1,351.6 MD against 430.7 MD) and dates (467.8 MD against 347.0 MD).
The energy sector’s exports were also up 33.1%, following the rise in crude oil sales (895.1 MD against 622.5 MD).
As regard the manufacturing sector, exports increased by 28.5%, textiles and clothing and leather by 22.9% and by 19.4% for the mechanical and electrical industry sector.
On the other hand, exports of the mining, phosphate and derivatives sector continued to decline with a rate of 6.7%.
Imports up 20.8%
Imports, meanwhile, maintained a significant growth rate, registering an increase of 20.8% against 16.3% in the first half of 2017, for a value of 28,519.5 MD against 23,607.5 MD during the same period in 2017.
This rise is mainly due, according to the INS, to the increase recorded in imports of all sectors, mainly those of the energy sector (34.8%), raw materials and semi-finished products (26.4%), capital goods (19.3%), mining, phosphate and derivatives sector (8.9%) and agriculture and basic food products (7.8%).
The INS reports an improvement in the coverage rate by 3.3 points compared to the 1st quarter of 2017, to 71.4% and 68.1%, respectively.
72.7% of exports to the EU
The distribution of Tunisia’s trade with foreign countries shows that the European Union is still Tunisia’s largest trading partner with a share of 72.7% of the total exports.
Exports to the EU edged up 22.2%, as exports to Spain increased by 75.5%, Germany by 26.6% and France by 19.8%.
However, Tunisia’s exports dropped by 29.9% to the United Kingdom.
Exports to Egypt were up 51.8%, Morocco 33.4% and Libya 27.8%, but exports to Algeria fell by 11.1%.
Distribution of trade according to the general and off shore regime
The distribution of trade by regime shows an acceleration in the growth rate of exports under the regime.
Indeed, exports registered a rise of 21.4% against 14.0% during the same period in 2017.
Imports recorded an increase of 26.3% against 14.0% during the same period in 2017.
Under the general regime, exports were up 42.6% against 9.0% during the same period in 2017.