Egypt’s trade deficit down by 11% in January

Declines in the value of the Egyptian pound against the dollar were said to have boosted the competitiveness of some products

  
An employee counts Egyptian pounds in a bank in Cairo, Egypt, November 3, 2016.

An employee counts Egyptian pounds in a bank in Cairo, Egypt, November 3, 2016.

REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

LONDON: The Egyptian Ministry of Trade and Industry said in a statement Thursday that the country’s trade deficit fell by 11 percent year-on-year in January.

According to the statement, exports increased by 16 percent, while imports fell by 4 percent. Building materials, chemicals, ready-made garments, food and engineering items topped the list of sectors that saw an increase in exports.

Egypt’s Minister of Trade and Industry Tariq Qabeel said the country’s non-petroleum exports rose to $1.9 billion in January, compared to $1.6 billion in January 2017. He added that imports amounted to $4.6 billion, compared to $4.7 billion last year.

Declines in the value of the Egyptian pound against the dollar were said to have boosted the competitiveness of some products, especially those that do not rely heavily on imported
materials.

“The positive indicators of the movement of Egyptian foreign trade reflect the success of the ministry’s strategy of promoting foreign trade,” Qabeel said.

The minister said EU markets were among the most important in January, with the value of Egyptian exports to countries in the bloc totalling $557 million, compared to $451 million in January 2017, marking an increase of 24 percent.

Qabeel added that the value of exports to Arab markets amounted to $766 million compared to $726 million a year ago.

Exports are one of the main sources of foreign exchange reserves in Egypt, as well as revenue generated from direct investment, tourism and money sent back by Egyptians working abroad.

Foreign exchange reserves in Egypt reached $38.2 billion at the end of January. The Egyptian Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation announced last week that there had been a 14.5 percent rise in direct foreign investment during the last fiscal year.
 

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