Egypt’s current account deficit shrinks 20.2% in July-September

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CAIRO, Feb 2 (Reuters) – Egypt’s current account deficit narrowed by 20.2% to $3.2 billion in the July to September quarter as imports shrank, exports rose and tourism revenue shot up, the central bank said in a statement on Thursday.

Exports rose by 12.6% to $9.97 billion while imports fell by 4.1% to $19.07 billion. Receipts from tourism jumped by 43.5% to $4.07 billion. Revenue from the Suez Canal rose 19.1% to $2.01 billion, the central bank said.

However, remittances from workers outside Egypt, one of the country’s main sources of foreign currency, shrank by 20.9% in the July-September quarter to $6.4 billion. A currency crisis prompted many workers to send remittances through the black market instead of the banking system, economists say.

In March, the central bank allowed Egypt’s currency to weaken sharply after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine prompted portfolio investors to withdraw about $20 billion within weeks from the Egyptian treasury market.

Foreign portfolio investors continued pulling money out of Egypt in the July-September quarter. They repatriating $2.2 billion during the quarter after having invested a positive $3.6 billion a year earlier.

Non-oil foreign direct investment surged by 63.6% to $3.5 billion, mainly due to the sale of $1 billion in local assets to foreigners, the central bank said.

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