Egypt’s current account deficit dropped by 39.2 percent to reach around $2.8 billion in the first quarter of 2020, down from $4.5 billion in the same quarter of 2019, the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) announced on Monday.
Based on this, the cumulative period from July to March of FY2019/2020 recorded an improvement in the balance of 25.2 percent to reach $7.3 billion, compared to about $9.8 billion a year earlier, according to the CBE’s payment balance report.
This improvement, which came despite the challenges stemming from the COVID-19 crisis, is the third in three consecutive quarters, thanks to the improvement in the non-oil trade balance deficit and the increase in current transfers, particularly workers’ remittances from abroad, the report said.
The report attributed this improvement to Egypt’s economic reforms that were adopted in 2016.
The non-oil trade deficit declined with $2.2 billion to reach $27.3 billion, down from $29.5 billion, driven by the increase in non-oil merchandise exports by $1.2 billion to record $13.6 billion, up from $12.4 billion, according to the report.
Exports that witnessed an increase were mainly gold, radio and TV transmitters and receivers, drugs, vaccines, serums and pharmaceuticals, as well as organic and inorganic compounds, according to the report.
From January to March 2020, non-oil merchandise exports increased by $286.9 million to reach $4.4 billion, up from $4.1 billion in the same period of 2019.
The retreat in the non-oil trade deficit was also led by the decrease in non-oil merchandise imports by $939.6 million to reach $40.9 billion, down from $41.9 billion, while imports that registered decreases include iron, all kinds of coal, spare parts and accessories for cars and tractors, spare parts and accessories for household electrical appliances, and drugs.
Additionally, from January to March 2020, non-oil merchandise imports shrank by 3.2 percent to stand at $13.7 billion, down from $14.2 billion in the same period of 2019, according to the report.
Unrequited current transfers upped with $3.3 billion to record $21.5 billion, up from $18.2 billion, supported primarily by the 18.3 percent rise in workers’ remittances, as from January to March 2020, despite global conditions, workers’ remittances increased by $1.7 billion to $7.9 billion, up from $6.2 billion in the same period of 2019, according to the report.
The oil trade balance deficit surged to $773.3 million, up from $294.3 million owing to the decline in oil exports by $1.2 billion to $7.3 billion, down from $8.5 billion, on the back of the drop in the exports of crude oil, oil products and natural gas, in addition to the drop in oil imports by $707.2 million to $8.1 billion, down from $ 8.8 billion, as an outcome of the contraction in the imports of oil products, said the report.
Also, the oil trade deficit narrowed from January to March 2020 by $405.1 million to $40.0 million, down from $445.1 million, benefiting from the slump in world oil prices, according to the report.