According to figures published by the National Institute of Statistics (INS), exports continue to grow at a steady pace over the first eight months of the year, increasing by 20.2% against 18.1% during the same period in 2017. In value, they reached 26.3 billion dinars against 21.9 billion during the same period in 2017.
Similarly, imports maintained a strong growth rate, registering a rise of 20.4% against 19.3% during the eight months of last year, to 38.5 billion dinars against 32 billion to end of August 2017.
Following this development, the trade deficit stands at 12.1 billion dinars against 10 billion a year earlier.
For its part, the hedge rate decreased slightly by 0.1 points compared to the eight months of 2017, to stand at 68.4%.
Exports at current prices continue to increase
The increase observed in exports concerns the majority of sectors. The agriculture and agri-food industry recorded a 63% increase following higher olive oil sales (1,590.3 MD vs. 553.2 MD) and dates (518.0 MD) against 375.2 million).
The manufacturing sector went up by 24.6%, the textile, clothing and leather sector 18.7%, the mechanical and electrical industries 15.2% and the energy sector by 1.2%.
However, exports of the mining, phosphates and derivatives sector continued to fall by 3.8%.
Imports still rising
The increase in imports is mainly due to the rise recorded in all sectors. Thus, energy imports grew 40.9%, raw materials and half products by 22.6%, agricultural products and basic food by 18.5%, capital goods by 14.4% and the mining, phosphates and derivatives sector by 6.9%. Non-energy imports went up 17.6%.
European Union remains Tunisia’s top trading partner
Tunisia’s exports to the European Union (72.9% of total exports) increased by 17.7%. This trend is explained by the rise in exports to certain European partners, such as Spain 60.4%, Germany 22.6% and France 16.0%.
With the Arab countries, exports grew by 32.3% with Morocco, by 22.8% Egypt and by 18.6% with Libya. In contrast, exports to Algeria fell by 12.3%.
For imports, trade in goods with the European Union (53.8% of total imports) rose by 20.6% to 20,739.1 MD.
Imports went up by 24.2% with Belgium, 19.3% with Italy and 18.2% with France.
Deficit by country, China still in the lead…
Tunisia’s trade balance showed a deficit in the first eight months of the year, due to the deficit recorded with some countries, such as China (-3,488.2 MD), Italy (-1,775.1 MD), Turkey (-1,417.4 MD), Algeria (-1,078.5 MD) and Russia (-824.6 MD).
On the other hand, the balance of the trade balance posted a surplus with other countries, mainly with France by 2,135.1 MD, Libya by 592.5 MD and Morocco by 235.1 MD.
Record energy balance deficit
The deficit in the non-energy trade balance was reduced to 8297.2 MD and the deficit in the energy balance stands at 3,863.3 MD (31.8% of the total deficit) against 2,322.7 MD during the same period in 2017.