Tunisia sees exports surge 23.3% in first seven months of 2018 (INS)
10/08/2018 17:54, TUNIS/Tunisia
(TAP)- Tunisia's exports grew 23.3% in the first seven months of 2018  against 15.9% in the same period last year,  figures of the National Institute of Statistics (French: INS) show.       

The value of exports (current prices) reached 23, 580.1 MTD against 19,128.9 MTD in the same period in 2017. Imports followed suit, posting a 20.8% rise against 18.8 % in the first seven months of 2017. Their value surged to 33, 526.6 MTD against 27, 756.9 MTD. 

Consequently, the trade balance stood at 9, 946.5 MTD in comparison with 8,628.0 MTD in the same period last year. The coverage rate of imports by exports was up 1.4% compared to the first seven months of 2017, rising from 68.9% to 70.3%.

A substantial acceleration of export growth under the offshore system was reported: exports edged up 19.3% against 16.4% during the same period in 2017.  Imports likewise recorded a 24.9 % rise against 17.5%.

In the general system, exports grew 35.1%  against 14.4% during the same period in 2017. Similarly, imports increased 18.8% in comparison with 19.5%.

Almost all sectors contribute to the upward trend in exports 

The growth seen in exports (23.3%) during the first seven months of 2018 involves most sectors. Agriculture and agribusiness posted a rise of 67.6% as a result of increasing sales of olive oil (1, 471.7 MTD against 489.9 MTD) and dates (496.4 MTD against 360.7 MTD).

Similarly, exports of manufacturing industries rose (28%),  while those of textile, clothing and leather surged 21%. Mechanical and electrical engineering industries and energy reported a growth of 17.3% and 9.3%, respectively. Meanwhile, exports of the sector of mining, phosphate and by-products fell 4.8%.

Imports surging 20.8% is the consequence of imports in relation to the energy sector, raw materials and semi-finished products and  capital goods rising 37.8%, 23.9% and 18.4%, respectively. The sector of mines, phosphate and by products, and agricultural products and foodstuffs also saw their imports grow 11.1% and 7.4% respectively.

Trade balance showing a deficit of 9,946.5 MTD

Geographical breakdown shows that Tunisian exports to the EU  (73% of total exports) increased 19.4%. This is reflected in an upward trend of exports towards some European partners, such as Spain (+63.9%), Germany (+26.6%) and France (+ 17.7%).

Sales to other European countries, nonetheless,  dropped as it is the case for the UK (- 25.9%). Exports to Arab countries edged up, including Egypt (+38.5%),  Morocco (34.4%) and Libya (26.7%).   A downward trend is observed as far as Algeria is concerned (- 9.1%).

Imports from the European bloc (54.9% of total imports) increased 22.2% for an amount of 18, 399.7 MTD.  Imports with Belgium, Italy and France were up 26.2%, 20.4%  and 20.5%, respectively.

The balance of trade showed a deficit of 9, 946.5 MTD  as a result of the deficit with China (-3,045.0 MTD), Italy  (-1,553.3 MTD), Turkey (-1, 210.4 MTD), Algeria (- 749.6 MTD) and Russia (-747.1 MTD).  Meanwhile, there was a trade surplus  with  France (1, 941.6 MTD),  Libya (527.8 MTD) and Morocco (222.6 MTD).

The trade deficit exclusive of energy stands at  6,708.3 MTD. The deficit in the energy balance is estimated at 3, 238.2 MTD (32.6% of the total deficit) against  2, 122.6 MTD during the same period in 2017.
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