Tunisia says 2012 inflation to fall to 4 pct

Reuters, Tuesday 5 Jun 2012

Prime Minister predicts improved levels of growth as industry, foreign investment and tourism get back on track

Tunisia's inflation rate was expected to be 4 per cent this year, Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali said on Tuesday, slowing from a year-on-year rate of 5.5 per cent for the first four months of 2012.

Speaking at a World Economic Forum conference in Istanbul, Jebali also reiterated his government's revised growth forecast of 3.5 per cent for 2012, down from the 4.5 per cent assumed in an original 2012 budget plan approved in December.
Tunisia's economy contracted last year following the upheaval that followed the overthrow of veteran leader Zine Al-Abidine Ben Ali.
"We are already witnessing improvements in our economy. We have improved levels of growth during the first quarter of 2012," said Jebali.
"We expect that this positive trend will continue and we expect that the Tunisian economy will grow by 3.5 per cent in 2012 ... and the inflation rate will remain at 4 per cent," he said.
Jebali said investment in the industrial sector as well as foreign direct investment had increased and that the number of tourists visiting the north African country was "returning back to normal".
The revolution that ended Ben Ali's 23-year rule in January 2011 had a domino effect, sparking popular revolts against dictators and autocrats in North Africa and the Middle East. But inevitably it also deepened Tunisia's economic problems, as the economy contracted 2.2 per cent last year.
The coalition led by a moderate Islamist party now running Tunisia has faced strikes and angry protests over unemployment, put at 18 per cent in March, compared with 13 per cent before the revolution.
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