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HomeNewsTunisia: Trade deficit widens to 14.2 billion dinars at end September

Tunisia: Trade deficit widens to 14.2 billion dinars at end September

Tunisia’s trade deficit is getting worse from one month to the next. At the end of September, it reached 14.2 billion dinars against 11.5 billion at the same date in 2017, i.e. an aggravation of 23.5%. At the end of September 2016, it amounted to 9.3 billion dinars.

The hedge rate edged down 0.7 percentage points compared to the first nine months in 2017 to 67.5% and 68.2%, respectively, according to a note by the National Institute of Statistics on Foreign Trade at current prices (September 2018).

The trade balance deficit excluding energy amount to 9,499.5 MD, knowing that the recorded deficit of the energy balance has widened to 4,683.7 MD (33.0% of the total deficit) from 2,700.4 MD during the same period 2017.

This widening is explained by the deficit recorded with certain countries, such as China (-3,958.5 MD), Italy (-2,105.8 MD), Turkey (-1,609.6 MD), Algeria (-1,276.4 MD) and Russia (-990.6 MD).

On the other hand, the trade balance registered an excess with other countries mainly with Tunisia’s top partner France (2,409.6 MD), Libya (731.5 MD) and Morocco (258.3 MD).


Exports grew 19.8% in the nine months of 2018, compared with 20.2% in the eight months of 2018 and 17.4% in the same period of 2017.

In value, exports reached the level of 29,481.7 MD, against 24,608.8 MD during the same period in 2017.

In fact, the agriculture and agri-food industries sector recorded a significant increase of 61%, following the rise in olive oil sales (1,691.8 MD vs. 605.3 MD), dates (542.7 MD against 392.5 MD), manufacturing sector (25.7%), the textile, clothing and leather sector (19.5%) and the mechanical and electrical industries sector (14.7%).

On the other hand, exports of the mining sector (phosphates and derivatives) remain down with a rate of 7.8%.


Imports maintained a growth of 21%, against 19.2% during the nine months of 2017, for a value of 43,664.8 MD, against 36,088.9 MD during the same period in 2017.

This growth is mainly due to the increase recorded in all sectors.

Energy rose by 46.6%, raw materials and semi-finished products by 21.2%, capital goods by 15.8% and agricultural and basic food products by 13.5% and the mining, phosphates and derivatives sector by 12.2%.

Geographical distribution

Tunisia’s exports to the European Union, accounting for 73.2% of the overall exports, grew 18.1%.

This rise is explained by the increase in Tunisia’s exports to certain European partners, such as Spain (54%), Germany (23.7%) and France (15.5%).

On the other hand, Tunisia’s sales to other European countries are down, notably with United Kingdom -10.5%.

With the Arab countries, exports increased with Morocco (37%), Libya (26.6%) and Egypt (23.8%). On the other hand, Tunisia’s exports to Algeria fell by 6.4%.

For imports, trade in goods with the European Union (53.5% of total imports) increased by 20.4% to 23,372.5 MD.

Imports increased by 31.2% with the Netherlands, 21.8% with Italy and 15.6% with France


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