CAIRO: Egypt said on Wednesday its economy could grow 5.3 percent this fiscal year following last quarter’s better-than-expected performance and could expand next year faster than previously forecast.
Economic Development Minister Osman Mohamed Osman said gross domestic product (GDP) could grow as much as 5.3 percent in fiscal 2009/10, up from a previous estimate of 5 percent, and 6 percent in 2010/11, up from an estimate of 5.8 percent.
Egypt’s financial year runs from July 1 to June 30.
"In light of a higher-than-expected third quarter (of the fiscal year 2009/10, or January to March), I expect GDP to exceed expectations this year and the next," he told reporters.
Egypt could attract $7.5 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI), a vital source of foreign currency for the North African country, in this fiscal year and could draw $10 billion in 2010/11, Osman added.
On Monday, Egypt said its economy grew by an annualized 5.8 percent in the three months to the end of March, driven by improvements in manufacturing, tourism and Suez Canal revenues.
Osman said that was the fastest pace of growth in two years.
The global downturn curbed tourism growth in the Arab world’s most populous country as well as foreign direct investment and Suez Canal revenues, dampening growth to 4.7 percent in 2008/09 from a record high 7.2 percent in 2007/08.
A Reuters poll of 14 economists in April forecast Egypt’s economy would grow 4.7 percent in 2009/10, 5.0 percent in 2010/11 and 5.3 percent in 2011/12.
In March, Egypt said it expected economic growth of about 6.5 percent in 2011/12.