CAIRO - Egypt's current account deficit widened to $6.83 billion in the last quarter of 2023 from $1.41 billion a year earlier as petroleum exports plunged and imports rose, the central bank said on Monday.

Egypt's petroleum exports dropped to $1.61 billion in the October-December quarter from $4.91 billion a year earlier, mainly due to a drop in natural gas exports. Petroleum imports meanwhile climbed to $3.38 billion from $3.03 billion.

Revenue from tourism inched up to $3.3 billion from $3.2 billion a year earlier, after the crisis in Gaza at the beginning of the fourth quarter slowed growth.

Suez Canal revenue rose to $2.40 billion in the fourth quarter from $1.97 billion in the year-earlier quarter.

Remittances from Egyptians working abroad outside of Egypt, a main source of foreign currency, fell to $4.93 billion from $5.55 billion. Workers were reluctant to remit money to Egypt through official channels because the official rate offered only half of what one could get on the black market.

Foreign direct investment increased to $3.21 billion from $2.43 billion.

(Reporting by Jana Choukeir; Writing by Patrick Werr; Editing by Alison Williams and Tomasz Janowski)