Egypt's trade deficit declines by 44 pct year-on-year in January 2017

Ahram Online , Sunday 5 Mar 2017

While Egypt's currency remains weak against the dollar, it's trade balance is recovering, with exports up and imports down compared to this time last year

File photo of containers

Egypt’s trade deficit declined 44 percent in January 2017 from $3.49 billion to $1.96 billion compared to the same month in 2016, the Ministry of Trade and Industry said in a statement Sunday.

In a statement on the ministry’s website, the Minister Tarek Kabil announced that non-petroleum exports increased by 25 percent in January 2017 to $1.6 billion from $1.32 billion in the same month in 2016, while imports decreased by 25 percent from $4.82 billion to $3.62 billion.

In December 2016, the trade deficit declined by 40.5 percent in December 2016, according to a CAPMAS statement emailed Sunday.

Year on year, the import of sugar increased drastically by 7,535 percent in December 2016, CAPMAS said.

Egypt has been facing a shortage in supplies of sugar, of which the country consumes more than three million tons annually, since September as the foreign currency crisis crippled imports.

The sugar crisis eased following the country’s decision to float its currency in November as well as the Ministry of Supply decision to import 120,000 tons of sugar from Brazil and France.

Egypt has undergone a hard currency crisis in recent months that resulted in high dollar rates on the black market and left banks unable to provide companies with the currency needed to service imports.

The central bank floated the pound against the dollar in November 2016 in an attempt to alleviate the country’s flagging economy, leading the pound to plummet, reaching an average exchange rate of EGP 18.5 to the dollar, compared to EGP 8.88 prior to the flotation.

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