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Thursday, 3 June 2021

Current account under the spotlight as economy continues to recover from covid

Remittances to Egypt rose 10% y-o-y in the first five months of 2021, Planning Minister Hala El Said said in a statement. Egyptians working abroad transferred USD 15.5 bn since January, already up nearly 10% compared to the period between January and July 2020, according to figures presented by El Said.

FX inflows from this vital source of hard currency have been holding firm in the face of the pandemic — and rose 10.5% during 2020 to USD 29.6 bn despite falling 1.6% across other low- and middle-income countries in the pandemic-ridden year.

Net FDI, meanwhile, might have already hit government targets, as it continues to stage a sustained recovery from pandemic lows. Inflows reached USD 3.4 bn so far this year, up from USD 2.5 bn in the first half of 2020, El Said noted. Balance of payments performance (BoP) data (pdf) released by the CBE in April shows that we’re on track to land USD 6.8 bn by the end of the state’s ongoing fiscal year on 30 June, which puts the figure close to the USD 7.5 bn achieved in pre-pandemic FY2019-2020. Net FDI is then expected to grow to USD 7 bn in FY2021-2022.

Record April for Suez Canal receipts: Revenues made by the government from collecting Suez Canal transit fees — another source of FX that was hit hard by the pandemic — reached USD 553.6 mn in April. This, according to El Said, is the highest month on record, and is a 16.3% increase over April 2020. According to the CBE’s latest balance of payments report, Suez Canal receipts were only fractionally below pre-pandemic levels during the second quarter of FY2020-2021, which ran between October 2020 and January 2021.

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