Egypt's trade deficit halved in March as wheat imports drop 42%

Ahram Online , Sunday 18 Jun 2023

Egypt's trade deficit dropped by 49.6 percent in March compared to the same month last year, as wheat imports plunged by 41.9 percent.

A file photo of containers.
A file photo of containers.


The trade deficit dropped to $1.9 billion in March 2023, compared to $3.8 billion in the same month a year earlier, according to data released by the Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics (CAPMAS).

CAPMAS said that the decline happened in spite of a 34.6 percent shrinkage in exports, which declined to $3.75 billion in March, down from $5.7 billion a year earlier.

During March 2023, Egypt's exports of natural gas, fertilizers and crude oil plummeted by 67.9 percent, 54 percent, and 50.5 percent on a yearly basis, respectively. Ready-made clothes exports decreased by 25.3 percent in the same period. 

However, exports of fresh fruits inched up 0.7 percent annually in March, while exports of bakeries and prepared foods soared 23.2 percent.

Exports of steel bars and other products, including wires, ballooned 87.3 percent. Iron and steel roll exports surged by 25.1 percent.

Imports slashed

In March, imports fell by 40.6 percent to $5.7 billion, down from $9.6 billion in the same month last year.

The overall decline is attributed to a drop in the imports of wheat (41.9 percent), steel and iron raw materials (65.2 percent), drugs and pharmaceuticals (5.2 percent) and organic and non-organic chemicals (by 38.7 percent).

Despite the decline, Egypt is still expected to remain a major wheat importer. The country's General Authority for Supply Commodities announced earlier in June an international tender for wheat slated to be delivered in July.

On the other hand, a group of imports rose during March, including petroleum products and natural gas, which surged by 17.4 percent and 28.1 percent, on a yearly basis,  respectively.

Imports of iron materials inched up 0.6 percent annually in March, while imports of coals edged higher by 0.7 percent.

It is worth noting that Egypt's trade balance deficit dropped by 48.2 percent to $2.1 billion in February 2023, down from $4.06 billion a year earlier, according to recent data published by the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE).

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