Foreign trade: deficit narrows in first fourth months of 2024 [Upd 2]

Tunis: The trade deficit shrank 23.5% to TND 4,77.2 million in the first four months of 2024 from TND 6,238.2 million during the same period in 2023, the National Institute of Statistics (French: INS) said in its Foreign Trade at Current Prices (April 2024) note released on Tuesday. The coverage rate rose 5.2 percentage points on the same period last year to 81.7%. This is the result of deficit with some countries, such as China (TND -2,538.1 million), Russia ( TND -2,197 million), Algeria (TND -1,408.1 million), Turkey (TND -951.6 million), Greece (TND -578 million) and Ukraine (TND -544.4 million). Meanwhile, the balance of trade in goods posted surplus, mainly with France (TND 1,940.2 million, Italy (TND 1,097.8 million, Germany (TND 761 million), Libya (TND 547.9 million) and Morocco (TND 111.7 million). The trade balance deficit excluding energy fell to TND -745.6 million, while the energy balance deficit amounted to TND -4,026.3 million against TND - 3,699.3 million during the first four months of 2 023. // Exports grow 4.8% // Exports grew 4.8% in the first four months of 2024 against 7% during the same period in 2023, totalling TND 21, 245.2 million against TND 20, 266.4 million last year. INS figures show the upward trend observed in exports mainly involves the food industry with sales jumping 56.4% driven by higher olive oil exports (TND 2.450,2 million against TND 1,167.7 million). This also includes the exports of energy (+17.8%) and mechanical and electrical engineering industries (3%). Exports of the sector of mining, phosphate and derivatives and the sector of textile, clothing and leather dipped -26.3% and -11%, respectively. Tunisian exports to the European Union (70.9% of total exportats) edged up 2.9%, driven by higher sales to Italy (+12.3%), Spain (+47.6%) and Belgium (+4,5%). A downward trend was reported for France (-0.8%) and Germany (-2.6%). Tunisia saw its exports grow to Algeria (+48.3%) and Egypt (+22.9%), while falling with Libya (-28.1%) and Morocco (-21.4%). //Imports show downward sloping trend line// Imports dropped (-1.8%) after posting a 3.7% rise during the same period in 2023. The value of imports amounted to TND 26,017.1 million against TND 26,504.6 million during the first four months of 2023. This 1.8% drop is the results of lower imports of raw materials and semi-finished products (-9%) which account for 33% of total imports; and higher purchases of energy products (+10.8%) coupled with stable imports of capital goods (+0.2%) and consumer goods (+0.04%). Imports from the European (53.9% of overall imports) fell 0.7% to TND 11,452.5 million. This includes Italy (-15%), France (-2.6%) and Belgium (-20.9%). Meanwhile, purchases from Germany trended upwards (+13.3%) with Spain following suit (+1.5%). A rise was similarly reported with Russia (+25.5%), Ukraine (+4.7%) and India (+20.2%). They dropped with China (-2.9%), the USA (- 16.2%) and Turkey (-4.9%). Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse