finance & economy

Trade deficit narrows by 6678,4 MD in 2020 [Upd 1]

January 13, 2021

(TAP) - Tunisia's trade deficit at current prices narrowed by 6678.4 million dinars in 2020, reaching -12757.8MD against -19436.2MD in 2019, reads a note on Foreign trade at current price-December 2020, published Tuesday by the National Institute of Statistics (INS).

According to the INS, the trade balance deficit of 12757.8 MD is due mainly to the deficit recorded with some countries, such as China (-5393.8 MD), Turkey (-2140.6 MD), Algeria (-1719.5 MD), Russia (-1007.1 MD) and Italy (-798.4 MD).

However, the trade balance of goods recorded a surplus in 2020 with other countries, mainly France (3515.9 MD), Germany (1217 MD) and Libya (1096.3 MD).

Under the general regime, trade shows a deficit of -23760.9 MD (-31249.2 MD in 2019).

Conversely, trade is in surplus under the offshore regime of 11003.1 MD (+11813 MD in 2019).

Excluding energy, the trade balance deficit narrowed to -8557.3 MD and the energy balance deficit stood at -4200.5 MD (i.e. a third of the total deficit) against -7756.4 MD in 2019.

The coverage rate thus rose by 5.9 points compared to 2019 to reach 75.2% against 69.3% in 2019.

Exports drop by 11.7% in 2020

Exports fell by 11.7% in 2020, compared with an increase of 7% in 2019, reaching 38705.9 MD against 43855.4 MD in 2019.

This decline affected several sectors. Actually, the textile, clothing and leather sector contracted by 13.8%, that of mechanical and electrical industries by 14%, energy by 9.4% and mines, phosphates and derivatives by 24.4%.

However, the sector of agriculture and agri-food industries posted a rise of 12%, following the increase of olive oil sales (2299.7 MD against 1386.9 MD).

Tunisia's exports to the European Union (74.2% of total exports) dropped by 11.3%, due to the decline on the one hand, in the exports towards some European partners, such as France (- 20.8%), Germany (- 15.2%) and Italy (- 8%), and on the other hand, to the decrease of the Tunisian exports to the European Union (- 11.3%).

This drop is explained on the one hand, by the fall of Tunisian exports towards some European partners, such as France (- 20.8%), Germany (- 15.2%) and Italy (- 8%) and on the other hand, by the rise of sales to other countries notably Spain (+37.2%) and Belgium (+4.3%).

Exports to Arab countries also fell, notably with Algeria (-28.8%), Libya (-20.5%) and Egypt (-13.4%).

Imports down 18.7%

The imports edged down by 18.7% in 2020 against a rise of 5.5% in 2019. In value the imports reached 51463.7 MD against 63291.6 MD in 2019.

This drop is due to the decline in imports of capital goods (-24.6%), raw materials and semi-finished products (-14.5%), consumer goods (-13.8%) and energy (-37.2%) under the effect of the contraction of purchases of refined products (3376.6 MTD against 6416.2 MTD) and natural gas (2129.1 MTD against 3691.6 MTD).

As far as imports are concerned, trade in goods with the European Union (49.9% of total imports) registered a drop of 21.4% to reach 25671.8 MD. Imports from France fell by 26.6%, Italy (-25%) and Germany (-16.8%).

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