Egypt trade deficit widened by April exports drop

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Egypt’s trade deficit widened LE17.5billion ($2.9 billion) in April, 79.6% higher than the same month previous year, the state statistics agency said on Monday.

The total value of Egyptian exports dropped an annual 14%, down to LE15.1 billion ($2.49bn) from LE17.6 billion ($2.90bn) in April 2011.

The agency attributed the drop to a decline in the value of some export commodities, such as certain petroleum products, crude oil, fertiliser, garments, dairy products and fruits.

On the other hand, the value of imported goods to Egypt shot up from LE27.3 billion ($4.50bn) in April last year to LE32.6 billion ($5.37bn) in the same month 2012, suggesting potential economic recovery as imports feed into further economic activity. Egypt’s main imports are petroleum products, steel, raw materials and wheat.

Egypt, which imports more than 10 million tonnes of wheat annually, said it has a strategic stock of about six months plus to last until January.

Last month, the government reported it witnessed an imbalance of payments during first nine months of 2011-2012 with a $11.2 billion deficit compared to a shortfall of $5.5 billion a year earlier, amid political turmoil, investment flight and tourism downturn.

The country’s economy is yet to recover from the uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.

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