The results of Tunisia’s external trade at current prices during the first nine months of the year show that exports continue to increase at a fairly steady pace despite the slight deceleration observed compared with the first eight months of this year, the National Institute of Statistics (NSI) said on Wednesday.
Exports increased by 17.4% compared to 3.1% in the same period last year (18.1% in the eight months of 2017).
In value terms, they reached 24.6 billion dinars, against 20.95 billion dinars during the same period of 2016.
Similarly, imports maintained a remarkable rate of growth, rising by 19.2% compared to 2.4% during the same period of the year (19.3% in the first eight months of 2017).
In value imports reached 36.08 billion dinars against 30.28 billion at the end of September 2016.
As a result of this disparity in the rate of growth between imports (+ 19.2%) and exports
(+17.4%), the trade deficit reached 11.480 billion dinars against 9.326 billion same period in 2016.
The balance of the trade balance is deficient following a deficit with certain countries, such as China (-3.241 billion dinars), Italy (-1.513 billion), Turkey (-1.3 billion), Russia -924.6 million dinars) and Algeria (-326.4 million).
As a result, the coverage rate declined slightly compared to the same period in 2016, i.e. 68.2% and 69.2%, respectively.
According to the NSI, the remarkable increase in imports of 19.2% is mainly due to the increase in energy imports by 32.4% due to higher crude oil purchases (658.7 million dinars against 481.8 million) and refined products (2.669 billion dinars against 1.621 billion).
Similarly, the agricultural and food staples sector increased by 21.9% as a result of higher purchases of soft wheat (424 MD compared to 358.2 MD), raw materials and semi-finished products by 22.1%, capital goods by 11.7%, mines phosphates and derivatives 15.3%.
Tunisia’s imports of non-food consumer goods continued to rise at a rate of 20.8%, following an increase in passenger car purchases of 5.7% (1.257 billion dinars compared to 1.189 billion), essential oils and perfumery by 21% (274.5 MD versus 226.9 MD) and plastic products by 17.2% (1.109 billion dinars compared with 946.6 million).