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Tunisian Trade Deficit Up 13.7 Percent

Tunisian Trade Deficit Up 13.7 Percent

Sunday, 12 September, 2021 - 10:15
A tourist looks at traditional souvenirs displayed for sale in Sidi Bou Said, an attractive tourist destination near Tunis, Tunisia January 7, 2019. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi

Tunisia’s National Institute of Statistics has revealed a 13.7 percent trade deficit in August compared to the same period in 2020.

The deficit grew from TND9.213 billion (around $3.4 billion) in August 2020 to TND10.48 billion ($3.88 billion) in August 2021.

Exports increased by 23.5 percent by the end of August, while imports rose by 20.8 percent.

During the past eight months, the trading volume in Tunisia increased due to the return of normal mobility of exports and imports.

However, the domestic balance of trade is still suffering from several imbalances with countries that dominate the Tunisian market through the diversity of products and their low cost of production in comparison with the Tunisian products.

Turkey and China are on top of these countries.

This fact had a direct impact on the foreign monetary reserves in Tunisia.

Earlier, Tunisia submitted an official request to Turkey to review the free trade agreement between the two countries or work on canceling it in case the damage to the domestic economy was proved. This followed a huge increase in deficit for the best of Turkey, which negatively impacted the locally manufactured Tunisian goods.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade attributed the increase in the balance deficit between Tunisia and Turkey to the gap between exports and imports, in which the locally manufactured products are facing unfair competition.

The Tunisian deficit with Turkey is expected to reach a minimum of TND2.5 billion ($6.75 billion) during the current year.

Notably, the Central Bank of Tunisia revealed earlier that the country’s foreign reserves dropped and was estimated on August 18 at TND19.731 billion.

Central Bank Governor Marwan Abbasi attributed this drop to the decline in tourism revenues by 71.9 percent until August 10, 2021 compared to the same period in 2020.

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