Trade deficit widens to 8,628 MTD in first 7 months of 2017 (INS) | Tunisia News Gazette

Trade deficit widens to 8,628 MTD in first 7 months of 2017 (INS)

The trade balance showed a deficit of 8,628 MTD in the first seven months of 2017 against 6,856.3 MTD during the same period last year. This is due to imports growing at a faster pace (+18.8%) than exports (15.9%), said the National Institute of Statistics (INS).

This gap is the result of the deficit recorded with some countries such as China (-2,378.5 MTD), Italy (-1,156.8 MTD), Turkey (-1,014.8 MTD), Russia (- 840 MTD) and Algeria (-259.7 MTD).

However, the trade balance recorded a surplus with other countries, mainly France (+1,747.3 MTD), Libya (+443.4 MTD) and the United Kingdom (150.2 MTD).

The trade deficit, exclusive of energy, stands at 6,505.5 MTD; the deficit in the energy balance is estimated at 2,122.6 MTD (24.6% of the overall deficit) against 1,859.2 MTD in the first seven months of 2016.

A 15.9% rise in exports

In fact, figures reveal that exports keep growing at a quite sustained pace, posting a 15.9% rise up from 12.7% in the first half of 2017 and -0.5% during the same period last year.

The value of exports reached 19,128.9 MTD compared to 16,507.3 MTD during the same period in 2016. Exports of most sectors showed a rising trend: sales of crude oil went up (830.9 MTD against 403.9 MTD) along with exports of the agricultural and agri-food industries which edged up 12.9% and dates (360.7 MTD against 315.1 MTD).

Mechanical and electrical engineering industries likewise posted a 18.0% rise as it was the case for the textile, clothing and leather sector (13.2%) and manufacturing industries sector (9.7%).

Nonetheless, the mining, phosphate and by-products sector showed a drop of 14.8% as a result of falling phosphoric acid exports (253.1 MTD against 365.6 MTD).

Imports up 18.8% due to increase in energy imports

The value of imports reached 27,756.9 MTD against 23,363.6 MTD in 2016, recording a 18.8% rise against 16.4% during the first half of 2017 and -0.7% during the same period in 2016.

This increase is mainly due to a 30.8% increase in energy imports due to higher purchases of crude oil (422.9 MTD against 329.2 MTD) and refined products (2,047.6 MTD against 1,235.1 MTD).

The same goes for imports of agricultural products and basic foodstuffs that climbed 33.3% as a result of higher purchases of soft wheat (318.9 MTD against 272 MTD), raw materials and semi-finished products (21.6%), capital goods (8.8%), mining, phosphate and by-products (8.5%).

Imports of non-food consumer goods kept on rising (+20.9%) due to a 20.6% increase in purchases of essential oils and perfumery (209.5 MTD against 173.7 MTD), plastics products (up 18.6% from 867.5 MTD to 731.6 MTD) and passenger cars (+10.8% up to 958.9 MTD from 865.3 MTD). In this respect, non-energy imports rose 17.4%.

Exports to Morocco edge up 20.2%

Tunisian exports to the European Union (75.4% of overall exports) edged up 19.9%. This increase is the result of a rise of exports towards certain European partners such as Italy (+26.8%), Germany (+25%) and Belgium (+14.2%).

However, sales fell towards other countries, notably Austria (- 20.1%) and Bulgaria (- 16.4%).

As for Maghreb countries, exports fell 22.3% with Algeria and 10.7% with Libya, while exports towards Morocco rose 20.2%.

As regards imports, trade flows in goods with the European Union (54.3% of overall imports) climbed 21.4% to reach 15,061.6 MTD. France and Italy are still the main suppliers with respective shares of 15.2% and 15.8%.

Imports increased 13.3% with France and 29.9% with Italy.

Source: TAP News Agency

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