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Tunisia: minimum growth rate of 3.3% per quarter should be realized before end of year

The national economy should grow at an average rate of 3.3% per quarter, during the second half of 2011, to avoid a recession that would be the first since 1986, according to the last issue of “Repéres économique,” the Newsletter of the Observatory on Economic Juncture stemming from the National Statistics Institute.

Under any scenario, the review expects that by the end of this year, growth will be well below its potential estimated at nearly 5% a year, for three consecutive years (3% in 2009 and 2010.)

The economic analysis highlights that this situation could result in a possible drop of the national economic growth potential, given the recent developments as the closing of production units and the productive capital’s destruction, which will undoubtedly lead to the rise of the unemployment rate.

This finding is confirmed by the development of the foreign trade’s volume which has mixed results by the end of the third quarter (rise and fall of exports and imports), according to the same source.

It appears from the Observatory’s expectations that these movements foreshadow a slow recovery of investments and productive activities during the coming months.

However, the observatory estimates that the recent drops of Tunisia’s Central Bank (BCT)’s intervention rate (down to 3.5%) would make them opt for the vitalization of consumer and investment credits.

Besides, the review points out that the household consumption behavior will also be guided by the prices’ development.

According to the observatory, the inflation, which was kept at a moderate rate of 3.1% till the end of last June, is expected to reach 3.7% by the end of September. At total, the same document explains, that the average inflation should be maintained fewer than 3.5% all along the year, to get stabilized in 2012.

It also recalls that the national economic growth fell by 3.3% in a yearly slide during the first quarter of 2011.

However, the same source specifies that the economic climate became relatively clear in the second quarter, as industrial units resumed activity and the gradual recovery of the national demand.

The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has thus, recorded a positive temporary growth of nearly 5%, after a reduction of 8% during the first quarter of the year.

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