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Tunisia: trade deficit narrows, imports too

The trade deficit has narrowed by 3,177.7 million dinars at the end of June 2020, to 6,602.8 MD from 9,780.5 MD during the same period of 2019, according to data published by the National Institute of Statistics Tuesday.

The reduction of the trade deficit was made possible thanks to a drop in exports (-20.6%) and imports (-24.1%), explained the INS which attributed the deficit of the trade balance largely to that recorded with some countries such as China (-2,635.7 MD), Turkey (-1,020.8 MD), Algeria (-832.4 MD), Italy (-505.8 MD) and Russia (-521.2 MD).

On the other hand, the trade balance recorded a surplus with other countries mainly, France (1,598.3 MD), Germany (435.5 MD), Libya (493.6 MD) and Morocco (193.1 MD).

Excluding energy, the trade balance deficit was reduced to 4,598.7 MD, the INS indicated, stressing that the deficit of the energy balance stood at 2,004.2 MD (30.4% of the overall deficit) against 3,754.2 MD during the same period in 2019.

As regards the coverage rate, it gained 3.3 points compared to the same period in 2019 to 73.4% from 70.1% during the same period in 2019.

Exports to EU fell by 22%.

Exports went down 20.6% in the first half of 2020, against an increase of 12.5% during the first half of 2019. They reached 18,192.7 MD against 22,904.2 MD during the same period of 2019.

This fall concerns several sectors such as the textiles, clothing and leather sector which dropped 27.5%. It is the same for the sectors of mechanical and electrical industries (-27.4%) and energy (-3%).

On the other hand, the agriculture and food-processing industries sector recorded a +11.2% rise, following the increase in olive oil sales (1357.9 MD against 777.2 MD).

In the same vein, the sales of the mining, phosphates and derivatives sector recorded a 2.4% improvement.

As regards the geographical distribution, Tunisia’s exports to the European Union (72.4% of total exports) dropped by 22.8%.

This evolution is explained, on the one hand, by the drop in exports to some European partners, such as France (- 33.2%), Germany (- 30.2%) and Italy (- 19.3%), and on the other hand by the increase in sales to other countries including Spain (+45%) and Greece (+ 2.5%).

With the Arab countries, exports decreased with Algeria by 34.6%, with Egypt by 30.4%, with Morocco by 22.9% and with Libya by 20%.

Imports from the EU dropped by 30.2%

As for imports, they recorded a decrease of 24.1% against an increase of 14.6% during the first half of the year 2019. In value, they reached 24,795.6 MD against 32,684.7 MD during the same period of 2019.

The drop in imports is due to the decrease in imports of capital goods by -29%, raw materials and semi-finished products by -22.4%, consumer goods by -21.5% and energy by -35.6% due to the decrease in purchases of refined products (1,730.6 MD vs 3,205.2 MD) and natural gas (1,053.2 MD vs 1,816.2 MD).

Imports from the European Union (48.2% of total imports) saw a 30.2% drop to 11,960.9 MD. Imports decreased by 34.8% with France, by 34.1% with Italy and by 29.2% with Germany.

Source: INS

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