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

10/15/2021 | 06:38am

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

CAIRO (Reuters) - 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)

© Reuters 2021
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