Egypt’s exports increase by 8 pct in first half of 2017

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Egypt’s exports increased by eight percent in the first half of 2017, recording 11.1 billion U.S. dollars compared to 10.2 billion U.S. dollars during the same period last year, Egyptian minister of trade and industry said on Thursday.

Minister Tareq Qabil said in a statement that his country’s imports decreased by 30 percent to hit 24 billion U.S. dollar, where they stood 34 billion U.S. dollars during the same period in the previous year.

The trade balance also went down by 46 percent recording 13 billion U.S. dollars in the first half of 2017 compared to 24 billion U.S. dollars during the same period in 2016, Qabil said.

Qabil said the trade balance decreased thanks to the ministry’s strategy that focuses on increasing exports and decrease imports by supporting home-made industries.

Egypt has been suffering economic recession over the past few years of political instability and relevant security issues that led to the decline of tourism, foreign currency reserves and foreign investments.

Besides floating its local currency’s exchange rate to face dollar shortage, Egypt started last year a three-year economic reform program including austerity measures, fuel subsidy cuts and tax increase.

The program is encouraged by an IMF 12-billion-dollar loan, a third of which has already been delivered to Egypt in two tranches in November 2016 and July 2017.

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