CAIRO - Egypt's subsidy bill for staple foods rose by 4.8 percent to 24.3 billion Egyptian pounds ($1.39 billion) in the first half of the 2018-2019 financial year, the cabinet said on Wednesday.

Egypt subsidises basic food products including sugar, cooking oil and rice for much of its population. The current financial year ends in June. ($1 = 17.5300 Egyptian pounds)

(Reporting by Momen Saeed Atallah; Writing by Aidan Lewis; Editing by Alison Williams) ((; +20-1001174410;))