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Tunisia: Better level of production in the agricultural and non-manufacturing sectors

The periodic meeting of the Executive Board of the Central Bank of Tunisia took place on Thursday 30 July 2009. A press release issued following the meeting said that the Executive Board pointed out the putting into circulation of the new 50 dinar banknote, the issue of which came to go along the evolution of volumes of transactions and the diversification of payment means, so as to make the settlement of transactions easier, notably those regarding large amounts especially during agricultural seasons and other periods, while ensuring the required safety through use of the most advanced technologies in this field.

The Executive Board has, moreover, gone over the main trends in the international economic environment, highlighting the persistence of fallouts of the international financial crisis and the recent appearance of some positive indicators concerning, mainly, the real estate sector and the fiscal year results of businesses in the United States, as well as industry and services sectors in the Euro Zone.

On the other hand, international stock markets experienced a positive evolution, while foreign exchange markets were characterized by an appreciation of the euro notably against the dollar. Besides, prices of several commodities, notably crude oil, registered an upward trend.

In this framework, the International Monetary Fund has reviewed its forecasts with respect to trends in world economy for the current year, estimating the recession at 1.4% against 1.3% previously.

At the National level, economic activity was marked by better level of production in the agricultural and non-manufacturing sectors, contrasting with the ongoing impact of the drop in external demand in exports and production of manufacturing industries. Recent data on foreign trade show, however, some attenuation of the regression pace of exports in both textile / clothing and mechanical / electrical sectors.

As for tourism, receipts went up by 4% as of current 20 July compared to the same period of 2008, while global bednights went down by 5.8%.

On the monetary level, money supply (M3) and financing to the economy went up, over the first half of 2009, by 5.6% and 4.7% respectively.

There was ongoing excess liquidity on the money market during July, though in regression compared to the previous months. Day-to-day interest rates on the money market fluctuated between 4.06% and 4.45% during the same month.

Trends in the dinar on the foreign exchange market experienced, starting 2009, a relative stability against the euro and a depreciation of 2.3% against the American dollar.

Concerning the evolution of prices, the inflation rate reached 3.3% in average, till end of June 2009, against 5.6% during the same period of 2008.

In light of these trends, the Executive Board decided to keep unchanged the key rate of the Central Bank of Tunisia, focusing on the need to pursue the rigorous follow up of the evolution of the international environment and to give particular concern to business activity, notably through a flexible implementation of the economic situation -related measures that were taken to support exporting companies at the level of debt rescheduling and granting of funds required to finance their activity.

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