Egypt's current account deficit widens in April-June quarter

A strong currency helped boost imports to $19.59bln in the quarter from $13.83bln a year earlier

  
Central Bank of Egypt's headquarters is seen in downtown Cairo, Egypt, June 7, 2017. Image used for illustrative purpose.

Central Bank of Egypt's headquarters is seen in downtown Cairo, Egypt, June 7, 2017. Image used for illustrative purpose.

REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

CAIRO - Egypt's current account deficit widened in the April-to-June quarter as imports surged and tourism was slow to bounce back to pre-COVID-19 levels, according to central bank figures released on Thursday.

The deficit widened to $5.13 billion in the quarter from $3.83 billion a year earlier, when the coronavirus pandemic was taking a heavy toll on the economy and tourism ground to a virtual halt.

A strong currency helped boost imports to $19.59 billion in the quarter from $13.83 billion a year earlier.

Tourism revenue jumped to $1.75 billion during the quarter from a low of $305 million at the height of the coronavirus crisis in April-June 2020, according to Reuters calculations using data from the bank's latest balance of payments report.

Two years earlier, before the pandemic, Egypt reported tourism revenue of $3.18 billion for the April-June period.

Suez Canal revenue climbed to $1.56 billion during the quarter from $1.34 billion, while remittances rose to $8.05 billion from $6.21 billion.

For the whole of the financial year to the end of June, the current account deficit, hit by the pandemic, widened to $18.4 billion from $11.2 billion.

Tourism revenue dropped by 50.7% to $4.9 billion during the year, the central bank said.

Foreign direct investment fell to $427.2 million in the April-June quarter from $1.52 billion a year earlier, while portfolio investment rose to $2.76 billion from $910 million.

(Reporting by Ahmad Elhamy and Patrick Werr; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Peter Cooney) ((ahmad.elhamy@thomsonreuters.com; +201023399104; Reuters Messaging: ahmad.elhamy.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))


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