CAIRO: Egypt’s trade deficit by 44.4 per cent narrowed in March compared to the same month last year amid a fall in imports’ prices, an official statistics agency said on Tuesday.
The Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) said in a statement that a 27.2 per cent fall in imports pushed down the deficit to EGP 19.9 billion (around $2.2 billion) in March, while it stood at EGP 35.7 billion (around $4 billion) in the same month in 2015.
CAPMAS attributed the decrease in the value of imports to the fall in the prices of key goods such as oil and petroleum products, cars, and raw materials required for the iron and steel industry, the prices of which fell by 22.2 per cent, 21.9 per cent and 15.5 per cent respectively. The past year and a half have seen a dramatic decline in global oil prices amid an oversupply.
Egyptian exports of oranges, potatoes, fertilizers and petroleum products reached EGP 17.6 billion in March, registering an 11.7 per cent from last year.
The past five years have witnessed a state of political turmoil that halved Egypt’s foreign reserves and drove away tourists and foreign investors. This has resulted in a foreign currency shortage crisis that has rendered imports more difficult to afford.