TUNIS, Dec 29 (Reuters) - Tunisia’s trade deficit widened by 23.5 percent year-on-year in the first 11 months of 2017 to 14.362 billion Tunisian dinars ($5.81 billion), a record level, central bank data showed.
The deficit was 11.628 billion dinars in the same period last year. It widened after imports rose by 19.2 percent, the data showed.
Last month, the central bank ordered local lenders to stop financing imports of about 220 products - from fish to perfume - as the country tries to curb its trade deficit.
Unemployment is high, especially among the young, and some inland regions remain impoverished. International lenders have demanded reforms to cut the deficit and reduce spending on a bloated public sector.
Tunisia’s parliament approved this month a 32.7 billion dinar budget for next year, including deficit cutting measures that had been watered down under pressure from unions.
Praised for its successful democratic transition after a 2011 uprising, Tunisia has struggled with tough economic reforms to reduce public spending agreed with its international lenders.
$1 = 2.4708 Tunisian dinars Reporting by Mohamed Argoubi; Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing