Tunisia’s trade deficit widened to 3,973.2 million dinars (MD) in Q1 of 2019 from 3,655 MD in the same period in 2018.
The coverage rate rose 1.3 points in comparison with Q1 of 2018 to stand at 74.9 % against 73.6%, the National Institute of Statistics (French: INS) said in its March 2019 newsletter.
This is due to the deficit with some countries, such as China (-1,453.8 MD), Italy (- 834.1 MD), Turkey (-647.9 MD), Algeria (- 637.6 MD) and Russia (-354.1 MD).
Meanwhile, the balance of trade recorded a surplus with France (1,354.4 MD), Libya (337.9 MD) and Morocco (150 MD).
Exclusive of energy, the trade deficit narrowed to 2,561.7 MD. The deficit in the energy balance stands at 1,411.5 MD (35.5% of the overall deficit) against 1,381.8 MD in the same period last year.
Exports edge up 16.3%, imports rise 14.3%
Exports rose 16.3% in Q1 of 2019 (+35.2% in Q1 of 2018), totaling 11,846.4 MD compared to 10,182 MD in 2018.
This upwards trend is seen in the mining sector (75.8%) as a result of more exports of Diammonium phosphate or DAP (83.4 MD against 39.8 MD) and phosphoric acid (120.3 MD in comparison with 73.3 MD).
Likewise, energy sector exports grew 31.4%; the same pattern is observed in manufacturing industries (+30.8%), mechanical and electrical engineering industries (+18.4%) and textile, clothing and leather (+14.8%).
Yet, agriculture and food processing industries failed to follow suit as they posted a 9.9% drop with olive oil sales falling from 776.9 MD to 444.7 MD.
Imports surged 14.3% (+21.2% in the same period last year) with a total of 15,819.6 MD compared to 13,837 MD in Q1 of 2018.
The trend involved the mining sector (26.3%) as well as agricultural commodities and foodstuff (24.1%) driven by higher purchases of common wheat (276.5 MD against 140.5 MD) and barley (190.1 MD against 67.7 MTD).
This is also the case for imports of capital goods (+20.7%), raw materials and semi-finished goods (+10.6%) and energy products (+10.7%)