The trade deficit shrank by 20.8% at the end of May 2024, to stand at TND -6,413 million, compared with TND -8,100.7 million during the same period in 2023, the National Institute of Statistics (INS) said on Wednesday in a note on foreign trade at current prices.

The coverage rate rose by 4.5 points compared with the same period in 2023, to 80.7%.

The deficit is mainly due to the deficit recorded with some countries, such as China (TND -3,314.1), Russia (TND -2,625.5), Algeria (TND -1,643.2), Turkey (TND -1,155.8), Greece (TND -738.9) and Ukraine (TND -614.8).

Conversely, the balance of trade in goods recorded a surplus with other countries, mainly France (TND 2,446.4), Italy (TND 1,098.6), Germany (TND 946.4), Libya (TND 790.2) and Morocco (TND 131.6).

The results of Tunisia's foreign trade at current prices during the first five months of 2024 show that imports fell by 2.5% compared with the first five months of 2023 to TND 3,162.9.

Exports were up by 3.3% compared with the end of May 2023, to TND 26,750.

//6.6% drop in imports of raw materials and semi-finished products //

The drop of 2.5% in imports, according to the INS, is mainly due to the decline by 6.6% in imports of raw materials and semi-finished products, which account for 34% of total imports, and to the rise by 6.2% in imports of energy products.

Imports of capital goods (-0.2%) and consumer goods (+0.1%) remained almost stable.

In terms of geographical breakdown, imports with the European Union (44.2% of total imports) were down by a slight 1.1% to TND 14,660.4, with a decline by 10.1% in purchases from Italy, 3.2% from France and 24.4% from Belgium.

However, they increased by 12.6% with Germany and by 3.2% with Spain.

Outside the European Union, imports grew by 7.9% from Russia, 22.1% from India and 0.3% from China. But they fell with the USA (-15.7%), Turkey (-9.3%) and Ukraine (-2.7%).

With regard to exports, the increase mainly concerned exports from the agri-food sector, which rose by 53.1%, following the boost in olive oil sales (TND 2,977.1 compared with TND 1,470.7), as well as 6.4% for exports from the energy sector and 1.3% for exports from the mechanical and electrical industries.

On the other hand, exports from the mining, phosphates and derivatives sector fell by 31.1% and those from textiles, clothing and leather by 8.6%.

Tunisian exports to the European Union (70.3% of total exports) increased by 2.4%, due to the rise in exports to several European partners, such as Italy (+12%), Spain (+39%) and Belgium (+6.2%).

However, exports to France were down by 0.2% and Germany by 5.6%.

Exports to Arab countries were up by 49.2% with Algeria and by 6.9% with Egypt, but they were down by 20.2% with Libya and by 19.2% with Morocco.

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