Unthinkable a few months ago, Tunisia’s trade deficit is on a downward curve which, if it continues, could herald a less gloomy future. During the first four months of 2023, it has fallen to -6265.1 MD against -6624.4 MD in the corresponding period, the National Institute of Statistics (INS) announced on Wednesday.
As a result, the coverage rate gained 2.3 points compared to the same period of 2022 to rise to 76.4%, according to the note on foreign trade at current prices, April 2023, of the INS.
This deficit was mainly due to those recorded with some countries, such as China (-2614.6 MD), Turkey (-1029.7 MD), Algeria (-1765.4 MD), Russia (-1742.8 MD), Ukraine (-498.4 MD), Egypt (-382.3 MD) and Greece (-208.4 MD).
On the other hand, the balance of trade in goods recorded a surplus with other countries, mainly France (1903.7 MD), Germany (1053.7 MD), Italy (129.2 MD) and Libya (760.4 MD).
It is important to note that the deficit of the trade balance excluding energy narrowed to -2565.8 MD and that the deficit of the energy balance stood at -3699.3 MD (59% of the total deficit), against -2301.7 MD during the four months of 2022.
Exports increase by 7%.
The results of Tunisia’s external trade at current prices during the four months of 2023 show that exports increased by 7%, against +24.6% during the same period of 2022. They reached 20266.4 MD against 18945.1 MD during the first four months of 2022.
The increase observed in exports (+7%) during the first four months of the year 2023 concerns several sectors, it was added. Indeed, exports of the agro-food sector grew 4.7%, textiles, clothing and leather by 12.5% and mechanical and electrical engineering by 17.7%. On the other hand, exports of energy fell by 40.8% and those of mining, phosphate and non-metallic mineral products by 10.9%.
And imports by 3.8%…
As for imports, they posted a rise of 3.8%, against +30.4% during the same period in 2022, according to the INS. In terms of value, imports reached 26531.5 MD against 25569.5 MD during the first four months of 2022.
Following this evolution, which is characterized by a faster rhythm at the level of exports (+7%) than imports (+3.8%), the increase in imports (+3.8%) comes from the growth posted by the imports of energy products (17.1%), consumer goods (+3.8%) as well as capital goods (+4%).
Imports of raw materials and semi-finished goods remained almost stable (-0.1%).
Exports to the EU up by 13.8
Tunisia’s exports to the European Union (72.2% of total exports) rose by 13.8%. This was due to an increase in exports to several European partners such as France (+13.8%), Italy (+11.2%), Germany (+8.2%), Spain (+19.2%), Belgium (+6.4%) and the Netherlands (+79.7%).
Exports to the Arab countries increased with Algeria (+51.1%) and Libya (+8%). On the other hand, they fell with Egypt (-33.3%) and Morocco (-10%).
Imports from the European Union (43.6% of total imports) fell by 2.4% to USD 11558.7 million. Imports from France went down by 5%, from Italy by 5.5% and from Spain by 15.1%. On the other hand, they grew 14.2% in Germany and 3.5% in the Netherlands.