It is a bittersweet picture that the Central Bank of Tunisia has drawn of the economic situation in its monthly report for H1 2015. This comes to say that there is good, less good and frankly bad.
The good is the first current account deficit which dropped to 149 MTD during the first half of 2015 to 3,985 MTD or 4.5% of GDP against 4,134 MTD or 5% during the same period last year. It is relayed in this by the trade balance deficit which continued to decline during the same period, i.e. a decrease of about 558 MTD or 8.3% to 6.2 billion dinars, following the significant improvement of the food balance, while the energy deficit continued its expansion (+ 12.2%) despite the significant decline in the prices of fuels on the international markets, said the BCT its note of economic conditions in H1 2015.
The good is also the level of net foreign assets which amounted, at the end of June 2015 to 13,236 MTD or 114 days of imports against 13,097 MTD and 112 days at the end of the year 2014. This is due to the surplus of capital and financial transactions that experienced during the first half of 2015, a consolidation of 490 MTD compared to the same period 2014 to 3,983 MTD , following the rise in flows of foreign direct investment by 40.7% to 993 MTD. This increase has concerned all sectors, primarily energy (+ 56.4%) and manufacturing industries (+ 16.5%).
The less good, the exchange rate of the dinar recorded, during the month of June 2015, a depreciation of 1.1% against the euro and 0.3% against the Japanese yen. However, it has experienced an appreciation of 1.5% against the US dollar and 0.2% against the Moroccan dirham, according to the note from the Central Bank of Tunisia on economic conditions in H1 2015.
During the first half of 2015, the dinar depreciated by 4.1% against the dollar and 1.4% against the Japanese yen, while it has appreciated by 3.9% against the euro and the Moroccan dirham. It should be noted that the dinar saw a bearish trend against the euro in the second quarter of 2015 after it experienced significant increase in early this year.
The flip side of the coin!
In this picture, it is the balance of services that is the dullest, recording, during the first half of 2015, a decrease in its surplus by 351 MTD to 484 MTD, following notably the 17.1% drop in tourism revenue compared to its level in the same period last year (-19.6% at constant exchange rates) to 1,199 MTD.
Then comes industrial production which continued to decline during the first four months of the current year at a faster pace than the previous year, i.e. -1.4% in annual shift against -0.2% in 2014, as a result of the continued decline in the production of non-manufacturing industries (-7.8% against -4%) and the slowdown in manufacturing industry (1.3% against 1.4%) .
The main economic indicators related to the evolution of industrial activity observed during the month of June 2015 show a fall in capital goods imports without regard to the import of a plane with a value of 383.6 MTD (- 7.4% in annual shift against 4.8% in the same month of 2014) and a deceleration in imports of raw materials and semi-manufactured products (1.7% against 3.4%). In addition, the exports of textiles, clothing, leather and footwear industries were down (-7.1% against 1.1%), while exports of mechanical and electrical industries recorded a slowdown in their growth rate (5.6% against 7%).
In contrast, consumption of high and medium voltage electricity in the industrial sector posted an increase of 1.5% in April 2015, against 0.5% a year earlier, particularly in manufacturing industries (3% against -0.1%).
To complete the picture, outstanding bank deposits experienced a deceleration in the first half of 2015 (0.3% against 2.4% a year earlier), following the slowdown in term accounts and deposits while financing to the economy grew at a slower pace than the previous year, i.e. 3.2% in the first half of 2015 against 5% a year earlier, in connection with the ongoing decline of short-term credits and the deceleration of medium and long term credits.