Egypt's economy grew 8.3% in the second quarter of the fiscal year and 9% in the first half, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly told a news conference in Cairo on Wednesday. Gross domestic product growth should exceed 6% for the whole fiscal year that ends June 30, he said.

The economy grew 1.3% in the first half of the 2020-2021 fiscal year, Planning Minister Hala al-Said told the conference.

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Egypt was one of the few emerging market economies to grow in 2020 as a result of government incentives and support to sectors hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Inflation has returned to levels that prevailed before the pandemic, Madbouly said, adding that the country was on track to keep annual increases in the consumer prices index contained at 7% plus or minus two percentage points.

Egypt's annual urban consumer price inflation quickened to 7.3% year on year in January, its highest since August 2019, from 5.9% in December, acccording to the statistics agency.

(Reporting by Nadine Awadalla, writing by Maher Chmaytelli; Editing by Toby Chopra, Kirsten Donovan) ((;))