Egypt’s president Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said late on Tuesday that the government has suspended fishery exports in order to meet local demand and curb recent price hikes in the fish market.
Speaking at a youth conference In the Suez Canal city of Ismailia, El-Sisi said that Egypt has been exporting around 40,000 tonnes of fish every year.
“However, we found that our exports of fish rose to around 120,000 tonnes only over the last three months,” the president said.
He did not mention how long the suspension would remain in force.
El-Sisi attributed the rise in exports to the central bank's decision to float the exchange rate in November. He praised this decision, adding that the government could intervene [for example by halting fish exports] to control food prices and shelter low-income consumers.
Egypt’s annual headline inflation registered 32.5 percent in March. It has been accelerating since November in the wake of the float, which caused the value of the pound to plummet from EGP 8.8 to an average of 18 per dollar.
Fish prices increased by 10.6 percent in March compared to the month before, according to the state’s statistical body CAPMAS.
Prices continued to increase despite the inauguration of a large fish farm in Ismailia in December, which aimed to reduce a gap between production and consumption estimated at 700,000 tonnes.
Egypt’s annual production of fish is currently estimated at 1.5 million tonnes, according to official data.