TUNIS, — Tunisia’s trade deficit widened in Q1 of 2017 to 3,878.9 MTD from 2,466,3 MTD in the same period last year. The coverage rate fell 8 percentage points to stand at 66 percent against 74 percent in 2016, the National institute of Statistics (INS) said in a sectoral report on external trade in current prices (March 2017).
This deficit is the result of imports edging up 20.3 percent and exports posting a 7.4 percent rise. Actually, exports were 7.4 percent higher than last year, ie a value of 7,532.6 MTD against 7,015.6 MTD, while imports showed a large increase for a value of 11,411.5 MTD in comparison with 9,482.0 MTD during the same period last year, reported the Tunisian News Agency (TAP) quoting the INS figures.
The biggest trade deficit was recorded with China (-942.4 MTD) followed by Turkey (-478.1 MTD), Italy (-462.4 MTD), Russia (-406.1 MTD) and Algeria (-50.2 MTD). The trade balance though posted a surplus with France, Tunisia’s first partner, (624.3 MTD), Libya (175.8 MTD) and the UK (79.1 MTD).
The trade deficit, exclusive of energy, stands at 2,696.2 MTD; the deficit of the energy balance deteriorated to 1,182.7 MTD ( 468 MTD in Q1 of 2016) to peak at 30.5 percent of the total deficit.
Tunisia’s exports to the EU (76.1 percent of total exports) were up 10.6 percent as an upward trend was observed as far as some European countries are concerned, particularly Italy (18.7 percent), Germany (12.7 percent) and Belgium (17.7 percent). Meanwhile, exports to other countries dwindled, including the Netherlands (- 15.7 percent) and Portugal (-12.7 percent).
Imports of goods from the EU (53.9 percent of total imports) rose 22.5 percent to stand at 6,150.4 MTD. France and Italy keep the spot as the top providers with respective shares of 15.3% and 15.4% which accounts for the rising imports (+8.9 percent for France and 29.1 percent for Italy.)
Source: Emirates News Agency