At the rate in which Tunisia’s grain were increasing, it was more than likely that these massive and regular purchases would have an impact on the food trade balance.
Indeed, the latter recorded a deficit of 1,423.1 million dinars (MD) in November 2019, against a deficit of 412.5 MD during the same period last year, according to data published by the National Observatory of Agriculture (ONAGRI).
The food trade balance thus records a coverage rate of 72.7% against 91.4% in November 2018.
The deficit, which represents only 8% of that of the overall trade balance, is the result of the increase in the value of imports, particularly those of grains, following the rise in prices and the reduction in the pace of olive oil exports.
Food exports at -13.4
In terms of value, food exports recorded a 13.4% drop until the end of November 2019 to 3,789.6 MD against 4,377 MD during the same period last year.
Export prices observed a 12.7% drop for olive oil compared to the previous year. However, those of tomatoes and dates increased by 47.2% and 16.2%, respectively.
Food imports up 8.8%.
In terms of value, imports posted an 8.8% increase, until the end of November 2019, reaching 5,212.7 MD against 4,789.5 MD during the same period of 2018.
Grain import prices rose for common wheat (19.6%), barley (15.1%) and durum wheat (13.1%).
The same is true for the prices of milk and derivatives (+15.0), potatoes (+13.5%) and sugar (+13.0%). Prices of meat and vegetable oils slightly increased by (+0.9%) and (+0.2%) respectively.
9% of total imports
The two product groups, energy and raw materials and semi-finished products, accounted for 47.3% of the country’s total imports.
The deficit of the country’s overall trade balance, at the end of November 2019, went up to the previous year, recording a 2.7% rise in November 2019 (-17,799.3 MD) compared to the end of November 2018 (-17,329.8 MD).