September 13, 2017 / 9:50 AM / 6 months ago

Tunisia's trade deficit widens 22 pct in Jan-Aug this year

TUNIS, Sept 13 (Reuters) - The trade deficit widened in the first eight months of this year by 22 percent compared with the same period last year to reach 10.07 billion dinars ($4.15 billion), the State Statistics Institute said on Wednesday.

The growing trade deficit is one of the main dilemmas facing the government of Prime Minister Youssef Chahed and eroded Tunisia’s foreign currency reserves, which reached just 90 days of imports last month, the weakest level in three decades.

The State Statistics Institute said the deficit widened to 10.068 billion dinars from January to August this year from 8.253 billion dinars the same period last year.

Imports in the eight first months this year soared 19.3 percent to reach 31.995 billion dinars. Exports rose by 18 percent to 21.927 billion dinars.

Four months ago, Tunisia imposed restrictions on importing some goods to curb its widening trade deficit and protect foreign reserves. ($1 = 2.4248 Tunisian dinars) (Reporting By Tarek Amara; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

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