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Wednesday, 20 January 2021

2020 was a surprisingly good year for our non-oil trade balance

A slowdown in imports during the pandemic helped narrow Egypt’s non-oil trade deficit by 17% y-o-y in 2020, falling to USD 38.3 bn in 2020 from USD 46.2 bn in 2019, Trade Minister Nevine Gamea said in a statement. Non-oil imports fell 12% during the year while exports declined 1%

Remember: These figures don’t include oil and gas trade, whose deficit continued to widen in 1Q and 2Q due to collapsing exports. This means that the country’s overall trade balance probably doesn’t look quite as rosy as the non-oil figures imply.

At the top of the class: Construction, which saw the value of exports rise 20% last year to hit EGP 6.1 bn.

And the top destinations? The UAE, US, Italy, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, which received 36% of our total exports last year worth some USD 9 bn.

SPEAKING OF EXPORTS- Fees on nitrogen fertilizer exports will remain in place but will be reduced to EGP 250 per tonne, down from EGP 550 per tonne, according to a Trade Ministry decision issued yesterday. The fees were imposed on local fertilizer manufacturers back in 2018 when companies began to fall behind on their monthly deliveries to the state and direct their output towards exports. Fertilizer companies had then said they lose as much as EGP 250 per tonne when selling their output to the government — which provides the commodity to farmers at a subsidized price. The fee is meant to discourage fertilizer manufacturers from the practice and ensure the government has its needed supply.

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