It has been a difficult year for Egypt’s finances. The world’s largest grain importer and the Arab world’s most populous country has been hit hard by war in key supplier Ukraine whilst a much needed multi-$bn inflow of IMF cash has been held up by the Fund’s demand for economic reforms (MEES, 29 July).

Latest data from the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) for the 2021-22 financial year (to 30 June) show the country’s import bill leaping by $17bn (23%) to a record $87.3bn. Despite exports also rising sharply, by $15bn or 53% to a record $43.9bn, the country’s overall trade deficit was up 3% to a record $43.4bn (see chart 1). (CONTINUED - 1400 WORDS)