By Abdel Qader Ramadan
A recent report by the Ministry of Trade, Foreign Industry and Investment has revealed a rise in non-petroleum exports for the first time since the beginning of 2014.
After four months of continuous decline, non-oil exports grew by 3%, to $2.009bn (EGP 14.2bn), compared to $1.946bn (EGP 13.6bn) during the same month in 2013.
Exports fell by 4% in January, earning $1.7bn, and by 4% in February, earning $1.77bn. Exports fell by 5% in March, earning $2bn, and fell 11% in April with $1.8bn, the worst year on year decline since the year’s start.
According to the report, the total value of exports since the start of 2014 through the end of May rose only slightly, earning $9.725bn (EGP 67.98bn). This is compared to $9.711bn (EGP 65.89bn) during the same period in 2013.
The ministry is aiming to achieve $25bn (EGP 175bn) in exports during 2014, assuming the exchange rate of the dollar is EGP 7. The rate is currently EGP 7.17, according to the Central Bank of Egypt’s website.
The report showed a decline in the total number of exporters as well as number of new exporters compared to the previous year. The number of exporters in 2014 did not exceed 5,368, compared to 7,463 in 2013 and 7,397 in 2012. The number of new exporters so far this year did not exceed 409 in 2014 versus 1,392 in 2013 and 1,421 in 2012. New exporters are considered to be those who have not exported in three years or have exported less than EGP 1m.
Running contrary to the general export sector decline since the start of 2014, a number of sectors recovered in May. Exports in mining rose by 32% in May, earning $179m versus $136m during the same month in 2013; spinning and textiles grew 18%, earning $80m versus $67m previously; food industries 10%, earning $37m versus $34m; and medicine grew 10% earning $45m versus $41m.
A number of other export sectors declined during the same period. Handicrafts fell 8% to $146m versus $159m; engineering industries fell 5% to $207; industries 8% to 146 million dollars against 159 million dollars; engineering industries fell 5% to $207 versus $218m; and agricultural crops 2% to $282m versus $287m.
Arab countries are the top market importing from Egypt as exports of non-oil goods to them were $4bn. The European Union followed with $2.9bn, $502m from the United States, and $480m from Africa, and $1.8bn from all other countries.