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Wed 21 Sep 2016 01:05 PM

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Egypt's current account deficit rises to $18.7bn

Egypt's economy is struggling to recover after a mass uprising in 2011 that drove away tourists and foreign investors

Egypt's current account deficit rises to $18.7bn
A general view of Cairos skyline and landscape. (Gianluigi Guercia/AFP/Getty Images)

Egypt's current account deficit rose to $18.7 billion for the 2015-16 fiscal year that ended in June, from $12.1 billion last year, central bank data showed.

Egypt's economy is struggling to recover after a mass uprising in 2011 that drove away tourists and foreign investors and created a shortage of foreign currency that has sapped its ability to purchase from abroad and relaunch key industries.

The trade deficit for the financial year stood at $37.6 billion compared with a deficit of $39.1 billion last year. The improvement was "due partly to the decline in world oil prices, which had a bearing on Egyptian exports and imports", a central bank statement said.

Total exports for the financial year tallied $18.7 billion against $56.3 billion in imports. Those were each less than the $22.24 billion exported and $61.31 billion imported last year.

Tourism receipts roughly halved to $3.77 billion from $7.37 billion a year earlier.

Egypt's tourism industry, a cornerstone of the economy and a crucial source of hard currency, has struggled to rebound since 2011. The sharp drop is due in part to a suspected bombing of a Russian plane carrying 224 people from a Red Sea resort last October.

Suez Canal receipts, another pillar of the country's foreign currency, declined by 4.5 percent, to stand at $5.1 billion versus $5.4 billion last year.

Foreign direct investment rose to $6.83 billion, up from $6.38 billion a year earlier.

Egypt has reached a staff level agreement for a $12 billion loan program from the International Monetary Fund aimed at plugging its funding gap and rebalancing its currency market but must secure around $6 billion in bilateral financing to obtain approval for the programme.

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