Tunisian exports posted a 5.8% growth at the end of 2012, reaching 26,547.7 million
Tunisian dinars (MTD), against 25,091.9 MTD in 2011, according to data published recently by the National Institute of Statistics (INS).
Imports increased by 13.3% from 33,695.4 MTD at the end of 2011 to 38,182.7 MTD, in the same period in 2012.
This growth in imports compared to exports resulted in a widening of the trade deficit which amounted at 11,635 MTD, at the end of 2012, against 8,603.5 MTD in the same period in 2011.
The coverage rate of imports by exports, consequently, lost 5 percentage points, reaching 69.5% at the end of 2012 against 74.5% in the same period in the previous year.
The rise of exports in 2012 is explained by the growth of exports of phosphates and derivatives 26.8%, particularly the sales of phosphoric acid (46.6%) and diammonium (51%).
This increase also involved exports of the energy sector (21.9%), other manufacturing industries (17.6%) and mechanical industries (11%).
Exports of the textile and clothing sector also kept their downward trend in 2012 with a rate of 7.1%, said the INS.
The sector of agriculture and food industries posted a slight decrease in the same period, despite the growth recorded in the sales of olive oil (47%).
The rise of imports in 2012 is the result of the growth of imports of the sectors of energy (33.4%), equipment (14.2%) and raw and semi-industrialized materials (5.3%), added the same source.
Imports of consumer products exclusive of food grew compared with the previous year, reaching a rate of 12% against 1.4% in 2011.
The increase also affected tobacco (34.8%), oil concentrates and perfumes (40.6%), sporting goods and toys (24.5%) and passenger cars (34.2%).
With regard to the geographical distribution of trade, Tunisian exports to the European Union (71.4% of the overall exports) fell 1.1%.
The decrease of exports to Europe involved the major partners of the country, particularly France, first customer of Tunisia (7%), Italy (-7.7%) and Germany (-3.9%).
Tunisian exports to these three countries account alone for 55% of the overall exports.
Regarding imports, trade of goods with the European Union (53.5% of the overall imports) posted an increase of 5.5%.
Tunisian imports fell slightly with major suppliers such as France (1.6%) and Germany (5.8%).