Trade deficit shrinks 25% in March

Egypt’s trade deficit shrank 25% in March to EGP 17.02bn, compared to EGP 22.69bn in the same period last year, the Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics (CAPMAS) reported.

In March, the state-run statistical agency announced that the trade deficit surged significantly compared with figures from March 2010, where it reached around EGP 11.7bn, which recorded an increase of 45.5%.

An increase in exports by 16.5% in March was behind the decreased deficit. Exports reached EGP 18.79bn compared with EGP 16.3bn in the same period last year, due to the increase of prices of goods such as clothes, oranges, cement, potatoes and a variety of other food items, the agency explained.

Meanwhile, imports fell 7.8% year on year to EGP 35.8bn due to the decreasing prices of some goods like wheat, corn, chemical products and wood. In March of last year, imports registered EGP38.8bn.

Because of the now lower trade deficit, Egypt’s current account deficit has narrowed to $3.9bn in the nine months to end-March, compared to $7.1bn in the nine months to March 2012, the Central Bank of Egypt said in a statement. The bank added that higher tourism revenues contributed to this.

According to the bank, tourism revenues rose to $8.08bn in the first three quarters of the fiscal year, up 14% year on year.

Egypt’s tourism sector was severely hit by the unrest that followed the 2011 revolution that ousted former president Hosni Mubarak.

The bank added that foreign direct investment (FDI) has inched up to $1.4bn from $1.2bn in the first nine months of the 2012/2013 fiscal year, which was primarily the result of a contraction in net investment outflows in the oil sector.

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