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During its meeting held on 30 March 2022, the Executive Board examined the latest economic and financial trends and decided to keep unchanged the key interest rate of the Central Bank of Tunisia at 6.25%.

The Executive Board of the Central Bank of Tunisia held its periodic meeting on 30 March 2022 and reviewed recent economic and financial trends.

At the international level, and following a recovery at the beginning of the year, the world economic activity would be affected by fallouts from the Russian-Ukrainian crisis. The recent macro-economic projections of the European Central Bank reviewed downward GDP growth rate in the Euro Zone, Tunisia's main trade partner, down by 0.5 percentage point to 3.7% for all the year 2022, following 5.4 % in 2021.

As for the international prices, the Board noted that as from breakout of the Russian-Ukrainian crisis, basic foodstuff and raw material prices were kept at historically high levels, likely to maintain inflationary tensions and boost monetary tightening both in developed and emerging countries.

At the national level, the Board noticed a slightly higher than initially expected tightening of the economic activity, coming to 3.1% (compared to an expected rate of 2.9%) for all the year 2021, vs. -8.7% a year before. This trend influenced recovery of market service activity and sound performance in manufacturing and non-manufacturing sectors.

As for the external sector, the Board noted widening of the current deficit, which came to -1,161 MTD over the first two months of 2022 compared to -878 MTD a year before, and this despite sound performance of labour income. On the other hand, the exchange reserves came to 22,700 MTD or 124 days of import on 29 March 2022 compared to 23,313 MTD or 133 days at the end of 2021.

As per the latest figures published by the National Statistics Institute, inflation pursued its increase for the fourth month in a row, coming to 6.7% in January 2022 against 6.6% in December 2021 and 4.9% a year before, marking thus the slightly faster progress pace of core inflation “inflation exclusive of fresh foodstuff and controlled prices' products”. The latter came to 6.2% against 5% in January 2021.

The Board expressed its worries about rising risks around the outlook of inflation trend and underlined the need to undertake, as quickly as possible, the required structural reforms to clean-up public finances and return back to sound, sustainable and inclusive growth.

The Board reiterates its call for an utmost vigilance with respect to the impact of Russian-Ukranian crisis on global macro-economic balances. It decided to keep unchanged the key interest rate of the Central Bank of Tunisia at 6.25%.

Concurrently the IT department of the BCT presented facts found out and measures undertaken following the cyberattack that targeted the Bank.

The first measures taken after detecting the attack consisted in isolating the Banks’ website, banning any internal or external access to datacenter and launching the first investigations. A firm specialised in cybernetic issues was committed to conducting a thorough investigation on the above-mentioned attack.

The first findings show that all the Bank’s data are integrated and safe and that the attack hit only the front servers of the Bank and compromised the e-mail server and the telephone directory of which the BCT has safe copies on its backup system.

Thanks to undertaken measures, the banking operations took place on the same day of the incident with just some hours of delay.

Exchange with the local banks and the BCT partners were resumed the following day and the website of the Bank is again available.

Recovery plan was activated to allow for progressive return back-to-normal for all the Bank’s activities.