The food trade balance has recorded a deficit of 1,114.5 million dinars (MD) until the end of September 2019, against a deficit of 294.0 MD in the same period of the previous year, i.e. a coverage rate of 74.0% against 92.6% in September 2018, according to data published by the National Observatory for Agriculture (French: ONAGRI).
The deficit, which accounts for 7.5% of that of the overall trade balance, is due to the increase in the value of imports, particularly grain, due to higher prices, and lower olive oil exports.
In terms of value, food exports dropped 14.3%, until the end of September 2019, to 3,166.8 MD from 3,695.4 MD during the same period of last year.
Olive oil revenues fell by 39.4% to 1,022.4 MD from 1691.8 MD during the same period in 2018.
Export prices for olive oil went down by 10.8% compared to the previous year. On the other hand, those of tomatoes and dates increased by 39.9% and 19.9% respectively.
In terms of value, food imports grew 7.3%, until the end of September 2019 to 4,281.3 MD from 3,989.4 during the same period in 2018.
Grain import prices increased for soft wheat (26.3%), barley (26.3%) and durum wheat (15.0%) along with those of potatoes (+53.7%) and sugar (+14.2%). The prices of milk and dairy products and meat grew slightly by (+1.2%) and (+1.8%), respectively.
The country’s overall trade balance deficit increased at the end of September 2019, compared to the previous year, posting a rise of 4.7% in September 2019 (-14,848.0 MD) compared to late September 2018 (-14,183.1 MD).