Tunisia’s trade deficit (at current prices) widened by almost 20% compared to the same period in 2018 to 9.8 billion dinars over the first six months of the year, the National Institute of Statistics (INS) announced on Monday, July 8.
Tunisia’s exports increased by 12,5% until late June (+ 26,6% during the same period of the year 2018) to 22,9 billion dinars, against 20, 3 billion during the first half of 2018.
Similarly, imports went up 14.6% (+ 20.8% in the same period of 2018) to 32.7 billion dinars, compared with 28.5 billion a year earlier.
As a result of this change, the hedge rate in the first half of the year decreased by 1.3 points compared to the same period in 2018 to reach 70.1%.
42% drop in olive oil export sales
The increase observed in exports (+ 12.5%) in the first half of 2019 concerns the majority of sectors. In fact, increases were recorded in the mining, phosphates and derivatives sector (35.3%), the mechanical and electrical industries sector (17.9%), the textile and clothing and leather sector (11.8%), the energy sector (12.8%), and other manufacturing industries (21.5%).
On the other hand, the agriculture and agribusiness sector recorded a drop of 13.2%, following the 42% decline in the country’s olive oil sales reaching 777.2 million dinars, against 1.35 billion dinars last year.
Sharp increase in imports of refined products and natural gas
The 14.6% rise in imports is due to the increase in all sectors. In fact, imports recorded increases by 35.6% for energy products due to the increase in the country’s purchases of refined products (3.2 billion dinars against 2.6 billion) and natural gas (1, 8 billion dinars against 930.6 million dinars).
Similarly, imports grew by 18% for mines, phosphates and derivatives, 17.5% for capital goods, 15.6% for basic agricultural and food products and 5%. 8% for raw materials and half products.
Deficit with China by 3 billion dinars
The deficit in the trade balance is due to the deficit recorded with certain countries, such as China (-2.99 billion dinars), Italy (-1.6 billion), Algeria (-1.48 billion), Turkey (-1.3 billion) and Russia (-772 million dinars).
In contrast, the balance of the trade balance recorded a surplus with other countries mainly France (2.28 billion dinars), Libya (654.3 million dinars) and Morocco (264.3 million).
Energy balance deficit is 3.75 billion dinars
Excluding energy, the deficit on the trade balance is reduced to 6 billion dinars. Indeed, the deficit of the energy balance is 3.75 billion dinars representing 38.4% of the total deficit, against 2.58 billion dinars during the same period in 2018.