Egypt’s current account hits deficit of $4.1 bn in Jan-March quarter

 Egypt's current account deficit registered $4.1 billion in the three months to March from a surplus of $322.9 million in the same period the previous year, according to Reuters calculations.

The deficit stood at $8.38 billion in the nine months of the fiscal year which began on July 1, compared with a deficit of $543.1 million in the same period the previous fiscal year, the central bank said on Sunday.

The deficit was driven by a contraction in net transfers and a wider trade deficit, according to a statement posted on the bank's website.

Official transfers, including cash and commodities, fell to $6.4 million for the quarter, down from $3.8 billion a year earlier, calculations showed.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait have given or pledged to Egypt about $35 billion in aid in the form of oil shipments, cash grants and deposits in Egypt's central bank since the army deposed Islamist President Mohamed Mursi in 2013 following protests.

The Gulf Arab allies pledged an additional $12 billion in investments and central bank deposits in March at an international economic summit in Egypt, but those sums did not begin to arrive until the quarter ended.

Exports dropped to $4.6 billion in the third quarter, compared to $6.4 billion a year earlier, which the central bank attributed to the decline in global oil prices. Receipts from oil exports shrank to $1.4 billion from $2.9 billion.

The deficit was partly offset by a growth in foreign direct investment, with inflows nearly tripling to $2.9 billion for the quarter. That is up from $1 billion a year ago at the height of a security crackdown against Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood supporters.

Revenues from tourism, a main source of income for Egypt, remained steady, with inflows of $1.5 billion for the quarter, compared to $1.6 billion in the same period last year.

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