CAIRO: Egypt’s gross domestic product grew at an annualized 5.8 percent in the three months to end-March, driven by a rise in the manufacturing, tourism and Suez Canal sectors, cabinet spokesman Magdy Rady said on Monday.
Growth was 5.1 percent in the previous quarter.
The global downturn has curbed tourism in the Arab world’s most populous country as well as foreign direct investment and Suez Canal revenues, slashing growth to 4.7 percent in 2008/09 from a record high 7.2 percent in 2007/08.
But the government and analysts say there are signs of a turnaround, and Economic Development Minister Osman Mohamed Osman said in March he expected economic growth to slightly exceed 5 percent in fiscal 2009/10, which ends on June 30.
"This level is the highest since the fourth quarter of 2007/08," said Beltone Economist Reham ElDesoki in an emailed statement.
Government officials said in March growth would accelerate in the next two years to 6.5 percent in 2011/12, ending June 2012, from a projected 5.8 percent in 2010/11 as Egypt shakes off the global economic crisis.
"Recovery in the manufacturing, tourism and Suez Canal sectors resulted in higher growth rates in the third quarter of this year," Rady told Reuters in a telephone interview.
The Suez Canal is a vital source of foreign currency in Egypt, along with tourism, oil and gas exports and remittances from Egyptians living abroad.
Tourism grew 18.8 percent and Suez Canal receipts grew 10.5 percent in the third quarter of 2009/10, the Cabinet said in a statement. Manufacturing output grew 5.8 percent.