Egypt’s July-March current account deficit triples, central bank says

CAIRO (Reuters) – Egypt’s current account deficit more than tripled to $17.1 billion in the first nine months of fiscal 2023/24 compared to $5.3 billion a year earlier as oil exports plunged by $7.2 billion to $4.6 billion, the central bank said on Monday.

Meanwhile, imports of oil products rose by $1.5 billion and those of natural gas rose by $268.2 million in the July-March period, as the North African country grapples with power shortages while a heatwave drives up demand for cooling.

Suez Canal revenues declined to $5.8 billion in the July-March period compared with $6.2 billion in the same period the previous year.

The decline came during Jan-March 2024 with revenues decreasing by 57.2 percent to $959.3 million against $2.2 billion in the corresponding period a year earlier, the central bank said.

“This decrease stemmed primarily from the Red Sea maritime traffic disruptions which forced several commercial shipping companies to divert their shipping routes,” the central bank added in its report.

The Iran-backed Houthis, who control Yemen’s most populous regions, have been attacking vessels in the Red Sea region in what they describe as acts of solidarity with Palestinians in the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza.

Egypt’s net foreign direct investments inflows tripled to $23.7 billion from $7.9 billion in the same period a year earlier.

While remittances from Egyptian workers abroad decreased to $14.5 billion from $17.5 billion, tourism revenues saw a slight increase to $10.9 billion from 10.3 billion a year earlier.

Egypt’s fiscal year ends June 30.

(Reporting by Nayera Abdallah and Ahmed Elimam in Dubai; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Ros Russell)


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