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Tunisia: trade deficit widens to 17,799.3 MD in first 11 months of 2019

The trade balance posted a deficit of 17,799.3 MD in the first eleven months of 2019, compared to 17,329.9 MD during the same period in 2018, according to the National Statistics Institute (INS).

The coverage rate grew by 1.2 points compared to the first eleven months of 2018 to 69.4% compared to 68.2%, according to the INS note on Foreign Trade at Current Prices for November 2019.

The deficit situation is explained by the deficit recorded with some countries, such as China (-5,417 MD), Algeria (-2,837.4 MD), Italy (-2,461.9 MD), Turkey (-2,222.4 MD) and Russia (-1,297.8 MD).

On the other hand, the trade balance recorded a surplus with other countries, mainly France by 3,598.6 MD, Libya by 1,237.7 MD and Morocco by 363 MD.

Tunisia’s trade results with foreign countries at current prices in the first eleven months of 2019 show that exports grew by 8.8% compared to +19.9% during the same period in 2018. Similarly, imports went up 6.8% compared to +20.1% in the same period of 2018.

Excluding energy, the trade balance deficit amounts to 10,800.5 MD. The deficit of the energy balance stands at 6,998.7 MD (39.3% of the total deficit) against 5,614.3 MD during the same period in 2018.

Exports rose 8.8% to 40,380 MD against 37,122.9 MD in the first eleven months of 2018.

The increase recorded in exports concerns most sectors. Indeed, increases were recorded in the mining, phosphates and derivatives sectors by 21.1%, mechanical and electrical industries by 13.5%, energy by 10.9%, textiles and clothing and leather by 6.5% and other manufacturing industries by 14.5%.

On the other hand, the agriculture and agri-food industries sector went down 12.9%, following the drop in olive oil sales (1,205.4 MD against 1,953.5 MD).

Imports posted an increase of 6.8% against 20.1% during the same period of 2018, reaching the value of 58,179.3 MD against 54,452.7 MD.

The increase in imports is due to the rise in most sectors. Indeed, a 20.9% increase was recorded for energy products driven by higher natural gas purchases (3,432.9 MD against 1,967.7 MD).

Similarly, imports went up 9.7% for capital goods and 5.9% for agricultural and food commodities. In contrast, the mining, phosphates and derivatives sector fell by 2.9%.

Tunisia’s exports to the European Union (74.4% of overall exports) grew 9.8%. This trend is explained by the increase in exports to some European partners, such as Germany (+17.1%), Italy (+11.6%) and France (+7.9%).

However, sales are down with other European countries, particularly Spain (-19.2%) and the Netherlands (-5.9%). With the Arab countries, exports went up 28.3% with Libya, 15.8% with Morocco and 4.9% by Algeria.

For imports, trade in goods with the European Union (51.7% of total imports) posted a rise of 4% to 30,079.7 MD. Imports increased by 7.1% with Italy and by 5.4% with France.

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