Tunisia’s trade deficit has worsened by more than 355 million dinars compared to January 2018 to 1.57 billion dinars, according to data from the National Institute of Statistics (INS).
The figures of the INS show that exports grew by 21.9% last January, against 38.9% in January 2018 to 3.81 billion dinars, against 3.13 billion a year rather.
As for imports, they posted a rise of 24%, against 25% during the month of January 2018 to 5.38 billion dinars, against 4.34 billion dinars in January 2018.
For this purpose, the coverage rate decreased by 1.2 percentage points compared to January 2018 to 70.9%.
Imports maintain a high rate of growth
The 24% increase in imports is due to the increase observed in all sectors. In fact, imports recorded increases by 38.8% for capital goods and 26.6% for energy products, as a result of the increase in the country’s natural gas purchases (249.2 MD vs. 153.7 MD) and refined products (493.2 MD vs. 432.5 MD).
Similarly, imports of raw materials and semi-finished products went up 10.4%, those of basic agricultural and food products rose by 6%, and mines, phosphates and derivatives increased by 1.2%.
Export growth rate drops
The increase observed in exports (21.9%) during the month of January 2019 concerned the majority of sectors but at a pace less accelerated than last year.
Indeed, increases were recorded in the mining, phosphates and derivatives sector by 74%, the manufacturing sector by 46.6%, the mechanical and electrical industries sector by 29.6%, the mining and quarrying sector by 18.4% and the textiles and clothing and leather sector by 16.3%.
On the other hand, the agriculture and agribusiness sector recorded a decrease of 10.3%, following dropping olive oil sales (145.5 MD against 236.2 MD).
The deficit with China continues to widen
The trade balance showed a deficit in January, following the imbalance recorded with some countries, such as China (-507 MD), Turkey (-250 MD), Algeria (-168.2 MD), Russia (-155.2 MD) and Italy (-95.4 MD).
On the other hand, the trade balance registered a surplus with other countries mainly with Tunisia’s top partner France by 319.5 MD, Libya by 88.2 MD and Morocco by 39.1 MD.
By regimes, trade showed deficit under the general regime by 2.64 billion dinars (-1.96 billion in January 2018), and recorded surplus under the offshore regime by 1.07 billion dinars (+755.5 million dinars in January 2018).