Reuters reports official data reveals Tunisia’s trade deficit widened by about 20 percent year on year in the first eight months of 2018 to 12.2 billion dinars ($4.39 billion). The development is considered to be a new record for the country.
In the same period last year, the deficit was 10.1 billion dinars. According to the State Statistics Institute, the deficit widened after imports rose by 20.4 percent.
To curb the trade deficit, the country’s central bank ordered local lenders to stop financing imports of about 220 products- ranging from fish to perfumes.
Some inland regions in Tunisia remain impoverished and unemployment is high among the youth. To cut the deficit, international lenders have demanded reforms. One suggestion is that spending be reduced on a bloated public sector.