By Abdel Qader Ramadan
Egyptian non-petroleum exports declined 11% during the month of April, earning $1.8 billion compared to $2bn during the same month the year before, according to the Ministry of Industry, Foreign Trade, and Investment’s monthly report.
Since the beginning of the year through April, exports declined 2%, earning $7.6bn over the past four months, or 30% of the current year’s target value of $25bn. This compares to $7.76bn during the same period last year. This is despite the increase in revenue when calculating the total amount in Egyptian pounds rather than dollars, wherein the first four months of the year amounts to EGP 52.9bnm as compared to EGP 52.3bn during the same period last year.
The Ministry of Industry, Foreign Trade, and Investment amended the method of calculating the value of exports in order to rely on the dollar-denominated value instead of the pound to reflect a more realistic position for its exports. This is in light of the pound’s decline in value versus the dollar over the past three years. The dollar is currently bought at EGP 7.03 and sold at EGP 7.07.
The ministry’s plan for the current year targets exports of EGP 175bn, or $25bn, given an exchange rate of one dollar to seven pounds.
Exports of most of the export-oriented sectors recorded declines, with the exceptions of the leather industry, which increased its exports by 22%, earning $20m in April compared to $16m during April of 2013, and furniture, which increased 2%, earning $34m as compared to $33m the year before.
The mining sector fell by 39%, earning $139m in April as compared to $227m during the same month last year. Agricultural crops fell 14%, earning $196m versus $228m. Engineering industries declined 27%, earning $152m versus $207m. The food industry dropped 15%, earning $241m versus $284m.
Exports in fertilisers and chemicals also fell 13%, earning $351m compared to $404m the year before. Building materials fell by 32% dropping to $305m, compared to $447m. Apparel fell 22% earning $94m compared to $121m, while upholstery declined 6%, earning $61m compared to $64 million. Textiles fell 12% to $64m, as compared to $73m.
Exports in handicrafts, which were included in the report for the first time this year, declined by 17%, earning $137m versus $165m during the same month last year. Medical and pharmaceutical exports also declined by 13%, earning $42m compared to $49m.
The report indicated that the most important products exported over the last month were fertiliser products, cables, plastics, jewelry, precious stones, auto parts, medical and cosmetic supplies, aluminum, casting iron and steel, and upholstery.