Tunisia’s trade balance continues to improve. Favored by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the trade deficit continued in January its reduction initiated in April 2020.
According to data from the National Institute of Statistics (INS), the trade deficit in January 2021 was 792.2 million dinars, compared to a deficit of 970.5 million in January 2020, i.e. an improvement of 18%.
This is the result of the decline in imports at a higher rate than that of exports. Indeed, exports fell by 7.9% against -4.2% in January 2020, to 3.36 billion dinars, compared to 3.65 billion a year earlier.
Similarly, imports saw a drop of 10.1% against -14.2% in January to 4.15 billion dinars, against 4.62 billion during January 2020.
As a result of this trend, the coverage rate increased by 2 points compared to January 2020 to 81% compared to 79% last year.
The downturn in exports in January affected most sectors. Indeed, declines were recorded in the sectors of energy (-44.7%), mining, phosphates and derivatives (-57.5%), textiles-clothing and leather (-10.5%), manufacturing industries (-3.7%) and agriculture and food processing industries (-2.1%).
On the other hand, the mechanical and electrical industries sector recorded a slight increase of 0.6%.
The decrease in imports is mainly due to the decline in imports of capital goods (-11.8%), raw materials and semi-finished products (-12.7%), mines, phosphates and derivatives (-29.4%), consumer goods (-4.5%).
Imports from the energy sector went down by 28.1% in January due to the decline in the country’s purchases of refined products to 280.3 million dinars, against 334.3 million in January 2020, and natural gas to 75.2 million dinars, against 248.2 million.
Trade balance by country
The trade balance is in deficit with some countries such as China (-419.6 MD), Turkey (-164.7 MD), Russia (-137.1 MD) and Algeria (-49.7 MD).
On the other hand, the balance of trade recorded a surplus with other countries, mainly France (348.6 MD), Libya (93 MD), Morocco (27.7 MD) and Italy (3.6 MD).
According to INS data, the deficit of the balance of trade excluding energy has decreased to 439.2 million dinars. Consequently, the deficit of the energy balance is 353 million dinars in January (44.6% of the total deficit) compared to 435.5 million in same month of 2020.