Foreign transactions in Egypt recorded a $2.8bn deficit in the balance of payments during the fiscal year (FY) of 2015/2016, according to the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE). These figures compare to a surplus of $3.7bn during the last FY 2014/2015, the CBE added.
The bank said in a report released on Wednesday that the substantial current account deficit was due to the trade deficit increase of $18.7bn in FY 2015/2016, compared to $12.1bn during the last FY 2014/2015.
Moreover, the net capital and financial account gained $19.9bn during FY 2015/2016, compared to $17.9bn in FY 2014/2015.
The trade deficit, according to CBE, recorded $37.6bn in FY 2015/2016, compared to about $39.1bn in FY 2014/2015, as Egyptian imports and exports were affected by the decline of world oil prices.
Merchandise exports declined by $3.5bn, to reach $18.7bn, compared to about $22.2bn during the same period in the previous FY. This came due to the decline in oil exports by about $3.2bn, recording $5.7bn compared to $8.9bn in FY 2014/2015. Non-oil exports also declined to $13bn, compared to $13.4bn in FY 2014/2015, according to the CBE.
In addition, merchandise imports declined by about $5bn in FY 2015/2016, recording $56.3bn, compared to $61.3bn in FY 2014/2015.
Oil imports declined by about $3.1bn, registering $9.3bn, compared to $12.4bn in FY 2014/2015, while non-oil imports fell to $47bn, compared to $48.9bn in FY 2014/2015.
The CBE revealed that Egypt’s tourism revenues decreased by about 48.9%, registering $3.8bn in FY 2015/2016, compared to $7.4bn in FY 2014/2015.
Expenditures of Egyptians abroad, such as tourism, increased to $4.1bn in FY 2015/2016 compared to $3.3bn in FY 2014/2015, due to an increase in electronic payments by about $657.1m, according to the CBE.
The report added that Suez Canal revenues also fell by 4.5%, reaching $5.1bn in FY 2015/2016, compared to $5.4bn in FY 2014/2015, due to the devaluation of the Special Drawing Rights (SDR) unit against the US dollar at a rate of 2.1%.
The report also showed an increase in net foreign direct investments to $6.8bn in 2015/2016, compared to $6.4bn in 2014/2015.
It added that foreign investments directed to establish new companies or increase the capital of existing companies witnessed net inflows of $4.5bn, compared to $3.8bn in FY 2014/2015. Foreign direct investment in the oil sector also recorded an increase, amounting to about $1.6bn.