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) ((firstname.lastname@example.org; +201023399104; Reuters Messaging: email@example.com))