Trade deficit widens to 15,592 MTD by end of 2017 | Tunisia News Gazette

Trade deficit widens to 15,592 MTD by end of 2017

The trade balance deficit widened to 15, 592 million Tunisian dinars (MTD) by the end of 2017, a new record level, compared to 12, 601.2 MTD in 2016, the National Institute of Statistics (French: INS) announced on Thursday. The import cover ratio deteriorated to 68.8% from 69.8% in 2016.

The trade balance deficit, excluding energy, edged down to 11,559.1 MTD, while the energy balance deficit stood at 4,032.9 MTD (25.9% of the overall deficit) against 2,703.8 MTD in 2016.

The deficit reflects an imbalance in trade with China (- 4,407.2 MTD), Italy (- 2,108.8 MTD), Turkey (- 1,852.7 MTD), Russia (- 1,100.3 MTD) and Algeria (- 681.1 MTD).

Meanwhile, the balance of trade recorded a surplus with other countries, particularly France, Tunisia’s first partner, with 2,996.4 MTD, Libya (866.4 MTD) and the United Kingdom (152.4 MTD).

The deficit is also the result of imports increasing at a higher pace (+19.8% to 50,018.7 MTD) than exports (+18.1% to 34,426.6 MTD).

Imports grew as energy imports rose 39.9% driven by the rise in the purchases of crude oil (787.2 MTD against 641.2 MTD) and refined products (3,748.0 MTD against 2,339.4 MTD).

Agricultural and basic food imports were up 20.8% as purchases of common wheat increased (576.1 MTD against 473.2 MTD) along with raw materials and semi-finished goods (+23.5%), capital goods (9.7%), mining products, phosphates and derivatives (23.8%).

Imports of consumer goods, exclusive of food items, posted an 18% rise as a result of purchases of passenger cars edging up 9.2% (1,726.5 MTD against 1,581.8 MTD) together with essential oils and perfumery (+16.5% from 311.0 MTD to 362.4 MTD) and plastic ware (+16.9% from 1,310.5 MTD to 1,532.6 MTD); imports excluding energy went up 17.5%.

An upwards trend in exports was seen during the first eight months of 2017 in most sectors; energy posted a 24.6% increase due to sales of refined products growing up from 432.6 MTD to 809.5 MTD with agriculture and the agri-food industry following suit (+20.9%) as a result of olive oil sales going up from 872.4 MTD to 1,009.4 MTD. Similarly, sales of dates rose (557.6 MTD against 486.5 MTD) along with those of mechanical and electrical engineering industries (20.4%), textile, clothing and leather (16.3%) and manufacturing industries (15.1%).

Yet, the exports of the mining and phosphates and derivatives sector fell 1.6% as phosphoric acid sales shrank from 498.5 MTD to 424.7 MTD.

Source: TAP News Agency

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