Tunisia’s Exports Grow Faster than Imports

Tunisia’s Exports Grow Faster than Imports

Monday, 11 June, 2018 - 12:30
Tunis - Al Munji Al Saidani
Tunisia's National Institute of Statistics, a government agency, has revealed that the coverage of exports to imports rose to 72 percent during the first five months of the current year, compared with 67.3 percent during the same period last year.

The volume of trade deficit in this period amounted to at least 6.6 Tunisian dinars (about $2.6 billion), it said.

The European Union continues to top the list on the level of Tunisian trade, and France, Italy and Germany have the most trade exchanges.

Tunisia's exports improved markedly, rising by 27.5 percent in the first five months of this year while imports increased by 19.3 percent.

Last year, the Tunisian government identified a list of 220 imported products and called on local banks not to fund them through the Tunisian central bank, in an effort to curb the decline in foreign exchange reserves, which fell to record levels in terms of imports, covering not more than 72 days.

According to Tunisian economic and financial experts, the improved performance of Tunisian exports is mainly due to the positive growth of exports of agricultural products, which rose by 81.8 percent due to the increase in the sale of olive oil to 1.2 billion Tunisian dinars and the date revenues to 438.8 million dinars.

In the past five months, exports of the energy sector grew 32 percent. This was due to higher crude oil sales to BD 842.8 million in addition to increase of exports of laboratory materials by 27.3 percent, textile and clothing and leather by 23.1 percent and exports of mechanical and electrical products by 19.5 percent.

Despite the Tunisian authorities' attempts to diversify their foreign markets and end EU dominance over export and supply activity, recent figures indicate that Europe accounted for 72.2 percent of Tunisian exports, up 23.14 percent.

Tunisian economist Karim Balkhla stressed in this regard that the improvement in economic performance in Europe has added improved Tunisian exports.

He considered Europe to be an important market due to its geographical location and the long established tradition of trade between Tunisia and the EU states.

In this context, Tunisia's imports from EU states accounted for 55.6 percent of total imports and in turn showed a rise of 21.3 percent.

Explaining Tunisia's continued trade deficit with several economic players despite the improvement in exports, the Tunisian Institute said that trade with several countries, including China suffers an imbalance of about two billion Tunisian dinars and Italy about 1.1 billion dinars, Turkey 868 million dinars, Russia around 534.6 million Tunisian dinars and Algeria about 465.6 million dinars.

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