The deficit was 10.710 billion dinars in the same period last year and 12.6 billion dinars in all of 2016. It widened after imports rose by 19.6 percent to 40.850 billion dinars.
The growing deficit is one of the main problems facing the government of Prime Minister Youssef Chahed. It has contributed to an erosion of Tunisia's foreign currency reserves, which can now cover just 93 days of imports.
"The trade deficit reached an historic and dangerous level, we must stop bleeding," central bank Governor Chedli Ayari told reporters.
Last week, 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. ■
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