Tunisia’s real GDP growth eased to 2.7% y/y in the first quarter of 2013 from 4.9% the year before and 4.0% in Q4 2012 as agriculture output shrank and services growth weakened, the statistics office INS said. In quarterly terms, Tunisia’s GDP growth shrank 0.3%.
The domestic turmoil and related strikes and sit-ins coupled with weak tourism activity also dented growth in Q1. The government hopes to achieve a 4.0% GDP growth in 2013 in case industrial output remains strong and tourism activity picks up in H2. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has recently revised upward Tunisia’s 2013 GDP forecast to 3.8% from 3.0% expected in January. The IMF forecasts a 4.0% GDP growth for 2013.
The value added agriculture sector’s output swung to a 1.6% y/y contraction in Q1 from a 3.8% growth the year before. The local cultivation in Q2 and Q3 will likely help rebalance the pattern.
Non-manufacturing industries remained in the red in Q1, as output fell 0.2% y/y compared with a 1.5% contraction the year before. The reading was dragged down by falling mining and quarrying output (down 19.3%), refined oil (down 1.0%) and natural gas and phosphate extraction (down 1.2%).
Manufacturing industries grew 2.1% y/y in Q1, lifted by a 8.6% growth in food industries. Textiles, leather and apparel output rose 1.1% y/y in Q1 and that of mechanical and electrical equipment grew 1.3%. Such industries recorded a 5.6% expansion in Q1 2012.
Tunisia’s GDP growth, however, remained resilient in Q1 due to a 3.5% increase in transport output and a 9.5% rise in telecommunications. But the total services sector’s output growth retreated to 3.8% y/y in Q1 from 6.6% a year earlier, the INS said.
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