CAIRO: Direct foreign investment (FDI) in Egypt slid 17.3 percent year-on-year in the nine months to end-March, but portfolio investment inflows surged, the central bank said on Sunday.
Portfolio inflows for the nine months rose to $7.11 billion, including $6.1 billion from foreigners buying Egyptian Treasury bills, from a net outflow of $8.89 billion a year earlier, the bank said.
The current account deficit narrowed 24 percent to $2.61 billion, while the trade deficit shrank 4.9 percent to $18.53 billion.
Simon Kitchen, an economist with EFG-Hermes, said the strong portfolio inflow was expected.
"It’s not a surprise — we have seen strong flows into T-bills and, to a lesser extent, equities since the beginning of the year," he said.
Private transfers from abroad, mainly from Egyptians working abroad, climbed 7.3 percent to $6.28 billion.
They "are at their highest level ever, presumably thanks to stronger activity in the Gulf," said Kitchen. "This and still-strong tourism is good for supporting consumption growth."
Some $2.8 billion of the FDI was in the petroleum sector, little changed from a year earlier, the central bank said.