The Tunisian economy contracted by -1.7% in the first quarter, year-on-year, mainly due to the lockdown in place since mid-March to stem the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a first estimate unveiled by the National Institute of Statistics (INS).
Compared to the fourth quarter of the past year, the GDP shows a decline of -2%.
In the first three months of 2019, value added in manufacturing industries fell by -1.6% year-on-year due to lower production in the textiles, clothing and footwear sector (-15.3%), the mechanical and electronic industries sector (-9.2%) and the building materials industry sector (-8.4%).
On the other hand, the value added in the chemical industries sector increased by +15.6% while that in the agro-food industries sector went up 20.3%, due to the record production of olive oil.
As for value added in the non-manufacturing sector, it is down -4.5% compared to the first quarter of 2019, mainly due to the continued decline in output in the oil and gas extraction sector by -4.8% and in the construction sector by -8.9%.
On the other hand, the institute indicates that the Mining sector posted an increase of 19.7% due to the growth of phosphate production to 1.2 million tons at the end of March, compared to 0.8 million tons in the first quarter of 2019.
In addition, value added in the Agriculture and Fishing sector grew by around +7.1% year-on-year, while value added in the market services sector fell by 3.4% year-on-year and by 4.6%, compared with the fourth quarter of 2019.