Egypt recorded a trade deficit of EGP 19.44bn in January, 20.7% less than the same period last year, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS).
The decrease came as the decline in global crude prices play in the country’s favour.
Imports stood at EGP 31.47bn during January, 21.2% less than the EGP 39.97bn recorded a year earlier, according to CAPMAS. This decline was largely driven by the drop in some commodities, such as petroleum products which were 69.9% less than last year; steel which was 46.9% less; and wheat which was 42.5% lower.
Exports also witnessed a decline of 22.3% during January, as it stood at EGP 12.3bn compared to EGP 15.44bn in the same period last year.
This drop was spurred by a reduction in the value of key exported products, such as fertilisers, petroleum products and crude oil which dropped by 55.1%, 54.7% and 54.2% respectively.
The price of benchmark Brent crude traded at $59 on Monday. Oil prices continue to be on a downward spiral which began almost a year ago, despite a recent pick-up. From a high of $115 per barrel in June, oil dropped to a record low of $48 a barrel in January, amid swelling US inventories and a slow global economic performance. Prices only started to increase in March.
While burdening the budgets of oil exporters, the plunge in crude prices was good news to net importers like Egypt, as it bolsters government efforts to bridge state budget deficit.
Inflation, however, continued to rise as government subsidy reforms weighs down on domestic inflationary pressures. According to CAPMAS figures issued on Thursday, Egypt’s annual inflation rate rose to 11.8% in March, up 1.1% from the month before.