Egypt current account deficit narrows as tourism rises

Tourists from China walk at a popular tourist area in the Khan el-Khalili market, at al-Hussein and Al-Azhar districts in old Islamic Cairo, Egypt, November 12, 2015. Egypt's tourism revenue is a vital source of foreign currency in a country which has seen its foreign cash reserves dwindle sharply during years of political instability following the 2011 uprising which overthrew Hosni Mubarak. Last year, nearly 10 million tourists visited, far less than the 14.7 million in 2010. Officials had hoped for modest growth this year but the Sinai plane crash, coming at the start of the peak Red Sea winter holiday season, is likely to reverse that. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh - RTS6QAC

CAIRO (Reuters) – Egypt’s current account deficit for the third quarter of the 2017-18 fiscal year narrowed to $1.93 billion from $3.1 billion a year earlier as tourism revenues improved, data from the central bank and Reuters calculations showed on Thursday.
Egypt has been trying to tighten its finances and draw back investors, using economic reforms tied to three-year $12 billion IMF loan programme it began in late 2016.

The country’s fiscal year runs from July through June.

The data showed that tourism revenues rose to $2.27 billion in the quarter, which runs from January through March, from $1.256 billion in the same quarter a year ago. Expatriate remittances increased to $6.46 billion from $5.78 billion.

Net foreign direct investment inflows declined to $2.26 billion in the quarter from $2.28 billion.

The trade deficit improved, dropping to $9.26 billion from $9.35 billion.

Suez Canal revenues edged up to $1.39 billion in the quarter from $1.20 billion a year ago.

The overall balance of payments improved, hitting a surplus of $5.38 billion for the quarter versus $3.97 billion last year.

Reporting by Eric Knecht; editing by Larry King

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