According to a bulletin issued today Monday, June 21, 2021 by the National Institute of Statistics (INS), in May and for the second consecutive month, Tunisia’s trade declined, recording 6 % to those before the pandemic. Exports decreased 9.5%. This slide is the most notable, according to the bulletin, since the start of the year, while imports have stagnated to prevail at a level slightly surpassing 5,000 million dinars (MD) for three months.
The trade deficit in May 2021 therefore augmented by 378.2 MD to reach 1554.1 MD against 1175.9 MD in April 2021. The coverage percentage fell 7.3 points from April 2021 to 69.8%. Nonetheless, after diminishing 1.8% in April, exports extended to decline at a more accelerated pace, falling 9.4% in May. This drop touched, according to the institute, all areas except the agriculture and agri-food industry which registered an improvement of 9.4%.
The decreases perceived in exports of the mechanical and electrical industries sector (-14.0%) and textile and clothing sector (-12.4%) are those which have provided the most to the overall drop. Moreover, the exports of the energy sector and mining, phosphates and derivatives sector decreased by 10% and 4.7% respectively.
Merchandise imports stalled for the second progressive month. The 9.0% rise under the offshore regime is offset by a reduction under the general regime (-4.4%). This balance at the overall level of imports is, accordingly, the conjunction of a dynamic at the level of supplies of raw materials and semi-finished commodities(+ 8.9%) as well as of capital goods products (+ 10.8% ) offset by a definite drop in buying of food products (-26.4%) and energy products (-11.7%).
Excluding energy, imports recorded a slender increase of 1.8%. Exports to European Union nations declined by 7.9%, due to the slump in sales to the central European partners such as France (-4.6%), Germany (-12, 9%) and Spain (-11.4%). Nevertheless, Tunisia showed a recovery in its exports to Italy (+ 5.2%). On the other hand, exports are falling with China (-58.4%), Turkey (-65.6%) and Russia (-19.5%).
For their part, imports registered a stalling with the countries of the European Union (+ 0.4%), while purchases were on the increase from China (+ 2.5%) and Turkey (+10 , 3%), and down with UMA (-14.5%) and Russia (-45.1%). Exports for the quarter ending in May rose 11.3% from the previous three months. Furthermore, imports listed an increase of 9.6% as opposed to the previous three months.
The INS besides indicated that its methodology is based in terms of publication and analysis on foreign trade figures on corrections for seasonal changes and calendar effects. This treatment makes it feasible to have a more genuine reading of the economic situation by following the growth compared to the previous month or quarter.
All data are accordingly, according to the INS, adjusted for the effects of seasonality, working days and those due to special calendar events, whether they are set, such as national holidays, or mobile, such as Ramadan or Religious holidays.