Food trade balance shows 251.7 MD deficit end of March 2021 (ONAGRI)
14/04/2021 13:33, TUNIS/Tunisia

(TAP)-The food trade balance showed a deficit of 251.7 MD during the first three months of 2021, against a surplus of 176.7 MD during the same period of the previous year, the National Observatory of Agriculture (ONAGRI) said.

The coverage rate of imports by exports stands at 84.9% in 2021, against 113.5% in 2020.

In value, food exports fell by 4.7%, while imports rose by 27.5%.

The recorded deficit is the result of the increase in the pace of cereal imports by 31.9% on the one hand and the drop in olive oil exports by 14.3% and fish by 2.5% on the other, despite the increase in citrus fruit exports by 57.9% and tomatoes by 33.6%.

The olive oil price remained stable in March 2021, after a strong hike recorded in February 2021.

As regards cereal products (soft wheat, durum wheat, barley and maize), a sharp rise in prices was reported in March 2021.

Compared to the same period of the previous year, the export prices of olive oil saw a 36.5% jump, and those of tomatoes went up by 36.2%.

However, a drop was registered in the prices of dates (15.1%), fishery products (14.1%) and citrus fruits (4.1%).

A considerable decline in imports of potatoes, meats and milk and by-products was recorded at the end of March 2021.

Import prices for cereals edged up by 12.4% for durum wheat, 17.1% for soft wheat and 37.1% for maize. The same applies to the prices of milk and by-products (+44.9%) and vegetable oils (+25.3%), while the prices of meat and sugar fell by 51.4% and 4.9%, respectively.

ONAGRI recalled that the deficit of the country's overall trade balance at the end of March 2021 decreased by 12.4% in 2021 compared to the previous year, i.e. a deficit of 3069.3 MD, against 3505.7 MD in 2020.

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