While the global economy still experiences a deceleration, Tunisia is showing mixed signs of recovery, noted the Board of Directors of the Tunisian Central Bank (BCT) in a meeting Wednesday.
Agriculture and services, both hit hard by last year’s recession, have witnessed growth. In particular, tourism revenue and the number of airline passengers grew by 30% and 32% respectively in 2012. Mining production also saw an increase of 11% up to October 2012 as well as the energy sector to a lesser extent.
The Eurozone crisis undermined European demand for Tunisian exports last year while imports for energy, capital equipment, and consumer goods grew. Such trends led to a yawning of the trade deficit by 35% in 2012 and an increase of the current account deficit from 7.3% of GDP in 2011 to 8.1% last year.
Tunisia financed its trade imbalance through increased flows of foreign direct investment and a higher level of external funding that the country secured last year. The latter contributed to a rise in assets denominated in foreign currency from 10.5 million dinars ($6.8 million) in 2011 to 12.5 million dinars last year.
Prices experienced upwards pressure over 2012 with an average inflation rate of 5.6% over the course of last year as opposed to 3.5% in 2011. All product categories, in particular foodstuffs, were affected by such inflationary trends.
So far in January, the BCT has intervened less in the money market compared to the previous month. The BCT injected 3.6 million dinars of liquidity into banks in January compared to 4.7 million dinars the earlier month.
In view of these developments, the BCT decided yesterday to maintain the interest rate at 3.75%.