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|12 September, 2018

Tunisia's August trade deficit up 20% yr/yr

The deficit widened after imports rose by 20.4%, the State Statistics Institute said.

Containers are seen at a port terminal in Bizerte, Tunisia, March 27, 2018. Picture taken March 27, 2018.

Containers are seen at a port terminal in Bizerte, Tunisia, March 27, 2018. Picture taken March 27, 2018.

REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi

TUNIS  - Tunisia’s trade deficit widened by about 20 percent year on year in the first eight months of 2018 to 12.2 billion dinars ($4.39 billion), a record level, official data showed on Wednesday.

The deficit was 10.1 billion dinars in the same period last year.

It widened after imports rose by 20.4 percent, the State Statistics Institute said.

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Last year, the central bank ordered local lenders to stop financing imports of about 220 products - from fish to perfume - as the country tries to curb its trade deficit.

Unemployment is high, especially among the young, and some inland regions remain impoverished.

International lenders have demanded reforms to cut the deficit and reduce spending on a bloated public sector.

($1 = 2.7767 Tunisian dinars)

(Reporting by Tarek Amara; editing by Jason Neely) ((tarek.amara@thomsonreuters.com;))