Tunisian exports went up by 13.9% in the first five months of 2011, reaching a value of 10,610.7 million dinars (MTD), compared with 9,315 MTD during the same period of 2010.
Imports reached 13,574.8 MTD, against 12,984.6 MTD during the same period of 2010, i.e., a 4.5-per-cent rise.
The trade deficit recorded a 12.2-per-cent drop to reach 2,964.1 MTD, against 3,669.6 MTD, resulting in the improvement of the cover rate by 6.5 percentage points to reach 78.2%, instead of 71.7% in the same period of 2010.
Analyzing the results of Foreign Trade of the first five months of 2011, Mr. Lotfi Khdhir, the Foreign Trade Observatory Director at the Trade and Tourism Ministry, specified in an interview to Tunis Afrique Presse (TAP) news agency, that, for the first time since the beginning of the year, a positive increase is achieved in all exportation sectors.
The progress rate has ranged between 3.1 % (for the diverse industries) and 56% (for agriculture and agribusiness).
As to the sector-based analysis of exports, he highlighted the resumption of phosphates and by-products sales, in May. About 300,000 tons were exported, against 144,000 tons in April 2011.
Phosphates exports during the first five months were 1/3 lower than those of the same period in 2010.
In April and May, 30.9 thousand tons of dates were exported, compared with 28.4 thousand in the same period of last year.
Olive oil exports also increased, reaching 18.5 thousand tons, compared with 15.8 thousand tons in the same period of 2010.
Mr. Lotfi Khdhir said that the textile and clothing sector posted a growth, moving upwards from -9.9% in January to 7.5% by end of May.
Exports of mechanical and electrical industries fell by 6% in May. This sector, it is to be reminded, accounts for 37% of the overall exports of goods.
The official of the Foreign Trade Observatory said the volume of imports of capital goods continued to fall for the 5th consecutive month (-10.9%), while food products imports prices increased from 12.5% in the first quarter to 21.1% by late May 2011.
Despite the drop in the imports of energy products (12.5 %) to late May, following the cessation of activities of crude oil importation and slowing down of national consumption of fuel by 2%, the value of imports rose by 19.8% as a result of the 36.6-per-cent increase of imports prices.
Imports of raw materials have steadily risen, from the first quarter of the current year, to reach 6.8% late May.