BY THE NUMBERS- As the government works to slash imports + shore up local industry, Egypt’s exports were on the rise in 1H2022: Egypt’s non-oil exports increased 20% y-o-y by value to USD 19.35 bn in 1H 2022, according to the General Organization for Export and Import Control (pdf). The data indicates that our non-oil exports also rose quarter-on-quarter: Exports hit USD 9.14 bn in 1Q 2022, meaning that the second quarter of the year saw us exporting USD 10.26 bn-worth of non-oil goods — a 12.3% q-o-q increase.
Leading the pack: Chemical and fertilizer exports, which constituted 22% of the export revenues during the first six months of the year. We exported some USD 4.34 bn of chemical and fertilizer products in 1H 2022, rising 35% y-o-y.
And that number should increase as more investments pour in: Emirati fertilizer company CFC Group is building a new USD 400 mn complex in Qena to produce fertilizers, animal feed, and phosphoric acid, under the new joint industrial partnership between Egypt, the UAE, Jordan, and Bahrain. All but a fifth of the complex’s output will be exported, with priority given to partnership nations, which should substantially increase exports when production begins in 1Q 2025. A push towards “greener” fertilizers — by relying on green hydrogen to produce green ammonia — could also give our fertilizer exports a push by catering to European countries with ambitious emissions reduction targets to meet, we noted previously.
Also seeing increasing exports: Building materials constituted 19% of the total export revenues for the period, rising 20% y-o-y, standing at USD 3.69 bn. The next largest contributor to our export revenues was the food industry, which accounted for USD 2.15 bn (11%) of export revenues, up 4% y-o-y.
Engineering industries and agricultural crop exports each accounted for 10% of Egypt’s total non-oil exports. Engineering industries saw a 27% y-o-y increase, with 1H 2022 revenues at USD 1.89 bn, while agricultural crop exports stood at USD 1.9 bn (up 10% y-o-y). Ready-made garments exports also increased 42% y-o-y, standing at USD 1.29 bn, accounting for 7% of Egypt’s total non-oil exports.
We’re looking to boost agricultural export revenues: The government aims to introduce facilities to increase the export of agricultural products such as dates, dried fruits, and dried onions.
Other goods we’re exporting more of: Printing and packaging reached USD 615 mn (up 37% y-o-y, 3% contribution); medical exports at USD 471 mn (up 36% y-o-y, 2% contribution); textiles at USD 555 mn (up 30% y-o-y, 3% contribution); upholstery at USD 325 mn (up 6% y-o-y, 2% contribution); and leather products at USD 52 mn (up 24% y-o-y, constituting 0.3% of exports).
On the flipside, exports of handicrafts and furniture were on the decline: The two sectors each made up 1% of total exports in 1H 2022, with furniture exports standing at USD 117 mn, down 20% y-o-y. Handicraft exports fell 11% y-o-y, recording USD 124 mn.
The overall increase in our export revenues comes as Egypt has been moving full speed ahead with its push to cut imports while simultaneously boosting exports. Earlier this year the government earmarked nine priority investment industries to start the push towards localizing manufacturing, in line with the state’s ambitious plan to raise exports to USD 100 bn a year by 2025: Wood and furniture, engineering, food and agriculture, chemicals, textiles, pharma and medical, printing and packaging, building materials, and metallurgical industries. 141 product categories fall under these nine investment areas, amounting to USD 17 bn and accounting for 23% of Egypt’s 2019 import bill.
And the increased support for exports is a critical policy issue: Finance Minister Mohamed Maait stressed the importance of focusing more on attracting foreign direct investment and encouraging export growth, as opposed to portfolio flows, to support the economy. The Finance Ministry is increasing allocations for its export subsidy program in the FY2022-23 budget to EGP 6 bn, up from EGP 4.2 bn in the FY2021-22 budget, advisor to the Vice Minister of Finance Nevine Mansour told Enterprise.
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