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Tunisia’s Trade deficit widens 15.8% in March

The respite will have been very short-lived, a month during which the trade deficit remained within the limits of 1,526.5 MD as recorded last February. A deficit that has therefore started to grow again at the rate of 15.8% in March 2023, to settle at 1,768.6 MD.

At the same time, the coverage rate has lost 2.3 points compared to February of the same year, to 73.9%, says the note of the National Statistics Institute (INS) on Foreign Trade at current prices (CVS-CEC) / March 2023, published Tuesday.

After the decline recorded in February 2023, trade picked up pace in March, with exports increasing by 2.4% and imports by 5.6%.

Excluding energy products, exports fell by 2.2% while imports rose by 9.8%.

Exports rebound

The 2.4% increase in exports to 5003.5 MD is explained, mainly, by the 231.4% rebound in exports of the energy and lubricants sector, the 11.8% rise in exports of the mining sector, including sales of phosphate to Italy, as well as the 4.4% growth of exports of textiles and leather, mainly textile sales to France.

However, exports of the agricultural sector fell by 16.7% and those of the various manufacturing industries by 11.5%. Excluding energy products, exports fell by 2.2%.

Imports too

After two months of decline, imports increased by 5.6%. All product groups contributed to this increase, with the exception of energy products, imports of which fell by 13.3%. Excluding energy products, imports grew by 9.8%.

Imports of raw materials contributed most to this growth. They increased by 6.9%, driven by the rise in purchases of oil seeds and fruits. Similarly, imports of consumer goods grew by 9.8%, mainly in purchases of medical and pharmaceutical products.

In addition, imports of food products rebounded by 23.9%, driven by imports of grain and sugar. Similarly, purchases of capital goods rose by 9.6%.

Sales to the EU up by 3.5

Exports to EU countries grew by 3.5% overall, with a significant increase in sales to the Netherlands (245.1%) and Italy (8.1%). They also posted a rise with the United Kingdom (112.2%), China (88.9%), Turkey (75%) and the Maghreb countries (1%). On the other hand, exports fell to Germany (-11.1%) and to France (-0.7%).

As for imports, a 5.1% decrease was recorded with EU countries, in particular with France (-10.8%) and Italy (-6.3%). On the other hand, imports from the AMU countries fell by 66.1%.

On the other hand, imports increased with Russia (+212.5%), the USA (+141.4%), China (+16.4%) and Turkey (+19.9%).

Finally, it should be noted that exports increased by 2% and imports decreased by 5.8% in the first quarter of 2023, compared to the last quarter of 2022.

Consequently, in the first quarter, the coverage rate improves to 75.8% and the trade deficit is reduced by 52% compared to the fourth quarter of 2022.


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