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CONSUMER PRICES UP

Egypt balance of payments gap widens to $11bn

Cairo, September 10, 2012

Egypt's balance of payments deficit widened to $11.3 billion in the financial year to June from $9.8 billion in the previous year, preliminary figures from the central bank showed on Monday.

The country saw an exodus of foreign investors after a popular uprising ousted its president in February 2011 and income from tourism slumped.

Egypt's current account deficit grew to $7.9 billion from $6.1 billion, the central bank's figures showed, while the trade deficit swelled to $31.7 billion from $27.1 billion.

Consumer prices rise in August

Meanwhile, the country’s urban consumer inflation rose slightly to 6.5  per cent in the 12 months to August 2012 from 6.4  per cent in July, Egypt's state statistics agency Capmas said on Monday.

July's inflation was the lowest in six years due to a smaller increase in food prices. Egypt's economy is struggling to recover from more than 1-1/2 years of political turmoil since the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak.

Consumer price growth was higher than 10  per cent a year ago. Analysts say slower inflation is unlikely to lead to an easing of central bank interest rates as the government tries to support the local pound currency and keep banks liquid enough to keep funding the state deficit.

The urban inflation index was 124.7 in August, Capmas said in a statement. This compares to a previously published figure of 117.2 for August 2011, which would give an annual inflation figure of 6.4  per cent.

Rounding of the numbers may explain the slightly higher  per centage inflation figure given by Capmas. A Capmas official could not immediately be reached to explain the discrepancy.

Core annual inflation, which strips out subsidised goods and volatile items including fruit and vegetables, slipped to 5.34  per cent in the year to August from 6.34  per cent in July, the central bank said on its website on Monday. – Reuters




Tags: Egypt | Central Bank | inflation | Cairo | Consumer prices | August |

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