Key pillars of the Egyptian economy are looking firmer than they have for some time. The country’s current account deficit fell to $5.3bn for the first nine months of the 2017-18 financial year (ie 3Q17-1Q18), down 58% from $12.5bn a year earlier, though the country’s quarterly trade deficit remains stuck at around $9bn (see table).

Egypt’s 2017 import bill came to $59.6bn, of which $12.4bn or 21% was oil and gas. Cairo will be aiming to reduce that this year with its 21.5tcf Zohr gas field coming online in December 2017; it hopes to end LNG imports in Q4 of this year. Oil Minister Tarek El Molla says Egyptian gas output should reach a record 6.5bn cfd in September this year with Zohr ramping up. The recent award of a tender to supply Egypt with six LNG cargoes for delivery over the next two months may well be the last of its kind (MEES, 29 June). (CONTINUED - 889 WORDS)