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Egypt's current account deficit widens in April-June quarter

Egypt's current account deficit widens in April-June quarter

FILE PHOTO: A container ship is seen beside cranes at the Suez canal near Ismailia port city, northeast of Cairo, Egypt March 5, 2021. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

(This Oct 14 story corrects Apr-June 2020 FDI to US$1.52 billion in final paragraph)

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 US$5.13 billion in the quarter from US$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 US$19.59 billion in the quarter from US$13.83 billion a year earlier.

Tourism revenue jumped to US$1.75 billion during the quarter from a low of US$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 US$3.18 billion for the April-June period.

Suez Canal revenue climbed to US$1.56 billion during the quarter from US$1.34 billion, while remittances rose to US$8.05 billion from US$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 US$18.4 billion from US$11.2 billion.

Tourism revenue dropped by 50.7per cent to US$4.9 billion during the year, the central bank said.

Foreign direct investment fell to US$427.2 million in the April-June quarter from US$1.52 billion a year earlier, while portfolio investment rose to US$2.76 billion from US$910 million.

(Reporting by Ahmad Elhamy and Patrick Werr; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Peter Cooney)

Source: Reuters

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