National Economic Environment During 2009, national economy was affected to some extent by the fallout of the global financial and economic crisis on the trends in production and exports of major manufacturing industries and on the pace of activity in tourism and air transport. However, measures and actions taken to support business and export sectors have reduced the negative effects of this crisis, and especially safeguarded jobs. By improving the level of agricultural production, particularly of cereals and tree crops, and the continued growth of service activities at a significant rate, in addition to lower commodity prices on the world market in comparision to 2008, the Tunisian economy has managed to achieve a growth rate of 3.1%, to preserve the overall balance and control the level of inflation 1 - Foreign Trade As regards Foreign Trade, the rate of coverage of imports by exports has experienced a slight decrease of 2.4 points to stand at 75.8, due to a decrease in exports at a faster rhythm than imports. The 2009 trade balance shows that exports have declined by 17.6% to stand at 19 469.2 million TND. As for imports, they decreased by 15% to stand at 25 692.4 million TND. Thus the trade deficit was reduced by 5.8% compared to 2009, to stand at TND 6 223.2 million. At the end of December 2009, the net assets in foreign currency stood at 13 260 million TND, the equivalent of 190 days of imports compared to 11 730 million TND and 140 days of imports over the same period of 2008.
2 - Inflation In December 2009, the Consumer General price Index (CpI) rose at a 0.5% rate against 0.4% in December 2008. In terms of yoy, the general price index rose at 4.3% in December 2009 against 4.1% during the same month of the previous year. Based on the monthly average, inflation rate returned to 3.7% for the whole year 2009, against 5% the previous year. Although the level of inflation recorded in 2009 is relatively high compared to levels reached in the different European partner’s and competing countries of Tunisia, whose economies have experienced a decline in inflation, it was possible to curb price increases and to resist the effects of the global financial crisis, notably through the pursuit of appropriate monetary policy that has, at the same time, ensured an adequate evolution of monetary indicators and supported the State efforts to boost and revitalize the economy. 3 - Monetary Policy The Central Bank of Tunisia has continued to intervene in order to absorb the surplus of bank liquidity prevailing on the money market. Regarding the weighted interest rate on overnight money market, it has fluctuated between 4.05% and 4.80%. As a result, average money market settled at 4.22%, 4.29%, and 4.18% respectively during the month of October, November and December (against 5.19% in December 2008) 4 - Foreign Exchange Market On average, the dinar has reported in 2009 compared to 2008 a depreciation of 20.8% against the Japanese yen, of 9.6% against the USD and 4.1% against the euro. Average 2008 Average 2009 Variation in % EUR/TND 1.8051 1.8787 4.1% US$/TND 1.2309 1.3494 9.6% YEN/TND 11.9204 14.4034 20.8% AnnualReport 2009