The coverage rate of the Tunisian trade balance was up 7.6 points at the end of the 1st quarter of 2018, rising to 73.6% compared to 66% in the same period last year, for the first time in several months, according to figures published by the National Institute of Statistics (INS).
The improvement in the coverage rate is due to the slight decrease in the trade deficit, which reached 3,655 million dinars (MD) in the 1st quarter of 2018 against 3,878.9 MD during the same period in 2017, thanks to the noticeable rise in the country's exports by 35.2% to 10,182MD against 7,532MD in the first quarter of 2017.
The rise in exports was recorded in all sectors in particular in energy up 138.5%, thanks to the increase in crude oil exports to 516.9 MD.
Exports also edged up in the agricultural and agro-food products (89.4%), especially olive oil (776.9MD), dates (263.8MD), electrical and electronic industries (26.7%), textiles (26.7%) and manufacturing industries (26.9%).
On the other hand, the exports of phosphates and derivatives dropped by 26,5%, in particular those of the DAP which amounted to 39,8 million dinars against 134,6 MD.
Imports climbed up in the 1st three months of 2018 by 21.2% to 13,837 MD against 20.2% during the same period in 2017. The increase in imports at a faster pace than last year is due to higher energy purchases (+37.4), semi-manufactured products (+28.4), equipment (+17%), agricultural and agro-food products (+ 9.3%), while imports of raw materials and phosphates fell by 2.7%.
The deficit of the Tunisian trade balance is share out between China (1,043 MD), Italy (717 MD), Turkey (541 MD), Algeria (325,5MD) and Russia (306,3MD).
Meanwhile, trade with France remains in a surplus at 1,008.9 MD, Libya (192.7MD) and Morocco 122.4MD.
The energy trade deficit widened during the 1st quarter of 2018, to 1,381.8MD against 1,182.7MD last year.