Egypt’s non-petroleum exports increased by two percent, recording $6.728 billion during the first quarter of 2020, up from $6.58 billion during the same period of 2019, according to Egypt’s External Trade Indices report issued on Wednesday.
According to the report issued by the General Organisation for Export and Import Control (GOEIC), Egypt’s imports dropped significantly by 24 percent to record $13.814 billion in Q1 2020, down from $18.233 billion in the same period of 2019.
Minister of Trade and Industry Niveen Gamea said these indices have contributed to reducing Egypt’s trade balance deficit by $4.566 billion, declining by 39 percent in Q1 2020 in comparison to the same quarter of 2019.
Gamea stated that these positive indices were recorded despite the harsh conditions the global economy is witnessing owing to the COVID-19 outbreak. She added that the indices reflect the success of the trade ministry’s strategy and the business community in resuming production to preserve Egypt’s export market and increase the reliance on national products to meet the needs of the domestic market.
She added that Egypt’s manufacturing sector is able to exploit the current opportunity to increase production rates and open new export markets, especially that many factories in different countries have been closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The sector can also make use of the decrees the trade ministry issued recently, especially with regards to halting exports of a number of medical and food products. This resulted in the increase of these products in the domestic market and, consequently, a decline in Egypt’s imports.
According to the report, construction materials were at the top of Egypt’s exports in Q1 2020 with $1.527 billion, followed by chemicals and fertilisers with $1.252 billion, food stuffs with $881 million, crops with $821 million, and electronics, engineering products with $548 million.
On the other hand, five sectors witnessed a significant decline in their imports in Q1 2020 compared to the same period of 2019, including construction materials with $1.879 million, down from $2.844 million with a decline of 34 percent, in addition to furniture imports that recorded $239 million, down from $369 million with a decline of 35 percent.
Imports of medical industries also declined to $639 million, down from $951 million with a drop of 33 percent.
Fertilisers and chemical sector imports declined as well to $984 million, down from $2.904 billion in the same period in 2019, while ready-garments imports dropped to $103 million, down from $145 million in the same quarter of 2019, according to the report.
The report also showed that the United Arab Emirates, the US, Italy, Saudi Arabia, and Spain were the top markets to receive Egypt’s exports during Q1 2020 with $747 million, $381 million, $385 million, $380 million, $241 million respectively.
China, U.S, Germany, India, and Russia were the top exporting countries to the Egyptian market with $2.336 billion, $938 million, $879 million, $713 million, and $701 million respectively.