Tunisia’s balance of trade deficit widened by 50% to 6.6 billion dinars ($2.2 billion) in the first four months of this year compared to 4.4 billion dinars in the same period last year, the state Institute of Statistics said.
The deficit has been one of the main problems facing Tunisia as it grapples with an economic crisis.
Imports rose by 30%, while exports climbed by 24.6% only, affecting the foreign trade coverage ratio, which fell by 3.4 points compared to the same period in 2021.
Government officials blamed the growing deficit on the huge rise in Tunisian imports of energy, which increased by about 90%, around four billion dinars, in four months.
This increase was sparked by the rise in global fuel prices, which resulted in the unprecedented rise in the value of energy imports.
This in turn led to an increase in the energy balance deficit despite the significant rise in the value of exports.
Official figures said the energy trade balance deficit in the country reached 2.3 billion dinars in late April, more than a third of the total trade balance deficit.
The volume of imported raw materials and semi-finished materials increased the trade deficit as it alone contributes to 40% of the total deficit.
Several economic experts, however, spoke of signs of an economic recovery.
The high internal demand for raw materials and semi-finished materials may help in the recovery.