September 30, 2019 / 4:38 PM / 2 months ago

UPDATE 2-Egypt's current account deficit widens in the last quarter of 2018/19

(Adds details, analyst, background)

By Patrick Werr

CAIRO, Sept 30 (Reuters) - Egypt’s current account deficit widened in the April to June quarter of the 2018/19 fiscal year as imports surged and workers remittances fell, Reuters calculations based on full-year central bank data showed on Monday.

On a positive note, tourism receipts rose to $3.179 billion in the quarter, up from $2.554 billion, and exports rose to $7.583 billion in the same period from $7.016 billion. April to June is the last quarter of Egypt’s fiscal year.

The current account deficit widened to $586.5 million in the quarter from $492.8 million a year earlier, Reuters calculations showed.

In the full 2018/19 fiscal year, the current account deficit rose to $8.2 billion from $6 billion, the central bank said.

Quarterly net foreign direct investment fell to $1.254 billion from $1.7 billion a year earlier.

The 2018/19 oil trade balance, at $8.1 million, was in surplus for the first time since 2012/13, the central bank said, citing higher energy investments. That compares with a deficit of $3.7 billion in the same period a year earlier.

Egypt has been producing far greater quantities of natural gas after ramping up production at its super-giant offshore Zohr gas field and at other fields in the Mediterranean.

Non-oil imports rose by 8.6% to $55 billion in the 2018/19 fiscal year, the data showed.

“The positive trend in hydrocarbon investment and exports and the fall in hydrocarbon imports is a solid improvement, but the rise in non-oil imports, whilst reflecting a stronger economy, is a drag,” said Angus Blair, chairman of business and economic forecasting think-tank Signet.

Suez canal revenues rose to $1.572 in the quarter from $1.434 in the same period a year earlier. (Reporting by Ulf Laessing, Amina Ismail and Patrick Werr; Editing by Kirsten Donovan and Sonya Hepinstall)

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