Tunisia trade deficit widens

Tunisia’s trade deficit widened to TND 6.475 billion (USD 2.67 billion) in the first five months of 2017, up from TND 5.135 billion (USD 2.12 billion) from January to May 2016, despite the hike in exports, particularly of crude oil. The information was made public this Monday (12) by news agency Tunis Afrique Presse (TAP). The deficit widened by 26%.

Import coverage by exports dropped from 69.5% in May 2016 to 67.3% in May 2017. According to Tunisia’s National Institute of Statistics (INS, in the French acronym), the deficit widened primarily with China, Italy, Turkey, Russia and Algeria.

Conversely, Tunisia saw a trade surplus with some of its biggest partners in trade, such as France, Libya and the United Kingdom.

Exports from Tunisia amounted to USD 13.347 billion (USD 5.5 billion) from January to May, up 14.2% from January to May 2016. Imports, however, increased by an even higher rate, at 17.8% to TND 19.822 billion (USD 8.17 billion).

The energy bill accounted for 23.6% of the deficit. Imports of oil and oil products grew by nearly 30%. Imports also climbed by 31% for food products, 19% for raw materials and semi-finished goods, and 8.6% for capital goods. Durable consumer goods imports were up 23%.

In turn, imports of ores, phosphate and their products dropped by 5.5%.

Foreign sales were up 46.3% for oil industry products, 10.8% for agricultural and food products, 20.3% for the mechanical and electric industries, 10.5% for textiles, clothing and hides, and 7.6% for the process industries.

Exports of minerals, phosphates and their products were down 23% from January to May. This industry is one of the country’s leading exporters.


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