The trade deficit in Tunisia rose 12.4 percent in the seven months to July 31st compared with the same period last year, reaching Tunisian dinar 2,096.2 million ($1=TD1.2455).
According to figures from the Tunisian Trade Department, exports were TD4,683.8 million (up 17.1 percent) and imports were TD6,780 million (up 15.6 percent). The export/import coverage ratio was 69.1 percent (68.2 percent).
The increase of exports was fueled by energy (up 138.9 percent), electrical and electronic goods (up 20.7 percent), shoes and leather (up 21.6 percent), and clothing and textiles (up 9 percent). The increase of imports was fueled by energy (up 143.6 percent), capital goods (up 26.9 percent), consumer goods (up 14.9 percent), and semi-processed goods (up 10.4 percent).
Foreign direct investment was TD612.7 million for the first half of 2000, nearly triple the TD217 million inflow of the same period last year. The increase was largely accounted for by the TD361 million privatization sale of two cement companies (TD311 million for Ciments de Gabes and TD50.5 million for Ciments Artificiels de Tunisie).
Some 4500 jobs were created by 85 new foreign businesses that inaugurated operations in Tunisia, mainly in the textiles and clothing sector despite an increasing trend in favor of the electrical and mechanical industries.
The Central Bank annual report for 1999 shows 6.2 percent GDP growth (5 percent in 1998), with sectoral growth rates of 4.5 percent for textiles, leather and shoes (6 percent), 4.5 percent for electrical and mechanical goods (7.2 percent), 11 percent for agriculture and fisheries (-1 percent), 11 percent for food products (-4.8 percent), and 7 percent for market services (6.6 percent).
Inflation was 2.7 percent -the lowest rate in three decades-, gross fixed capital formation was up 14.6 percent (8.5 percent), the investment rate was 25.7 percent of GDP (24.6 percent), and the savings rate was 26.2 percent of GDP (25.1 percent).
Unemployment was 15 percent (15.5 percent), and foreign currencies reserves were TD2747 million or 98 days of imports (TD2032 million or 77 days of imports). – (Albawaba-MEBG)