Egyptian minister hails reforms as public investment jumps 70%

Egyptian minister hails reforms as public investment jumps 70%
The growth followed reforms that helped make the Egyptian economy “more flexible”. (Shutterstock)
Short Url
Updated 03 December 2020

Egyptian minister hails reforms as public investment jumps 70%

Egyptian minister hails reforms as public investment jumps 70%
  • The rate of economic growth reached about 1.8 percent — less than the population growth rate
  • A plan to control population increase will begin in January 2021

CAIRO: The volume of public investment in Egypt grew by 70 percent in the 2020/2021 fiscal year, reaching 595 billion Egyptian pounds ($37.9 billion), Minister of Planning and Economic Development Hala Al-Saeed has said.

In a speech at the Egypt Economic Summit 2020, she said that Egypt could become one of only three economies across the Middle East to achieve economic growth this year.

The growth followed reforms that helped make the Egyptian economy “more flexible” and “able to absorb external shocks,” she said.

Al-Saeed said Egypt faced great challenges that led to imbalances in the monetary, financial and external axes, which caused a decline in Egyptian economic indicators. The rate of economic growth reached about 1.8 percent — less than the population growth rate.

The minister added that a plan to control population increase will begin in January 2021, as Egypt’s population is expected to grow by 2.5 million annually and reach 130 million in 2030.

Al-Saeed said that achieving development requires sustained economic progress to overcome weak population growth and the challenges facing the Egyptian economy in light of political and economic changes and the coronavirus pandemic.

The challenge helped Egypt commit to reforms based on comprehensive planning and an ambitious vision for the future, in the form of Egypt’s Vision 2030 sustainable development strategy, the minister said.

Egypt’s implementation of reforms since November 2016 led to “overall stability” and “comprehensive growth.” This was reflected in positive indicators that the Egyptian economy saw before the coronavirus outbreak, she added.

The rate of economic growth was about 5.6 percent in the first half of the 2019/2020 fiscal year, and about 5 percent during the third quarter. There was an average growth of 5.4 percent in the first nine months of the year, before the coronavirus outbreak.

Al-Saeed said that international institutions had “positive expectations” regarding the Egyptian economy.

She referred to the results of the World Economic Outlook report issued by the International Monetary Fund in October 2020, in which the Fund raised its expectations for Egypt’s gross domestic product growth to 3.5 percent for the year, compared with a previous forecast of 2 percent in the June report.

If the prediction is realized, it will make Egypt among only three economies in the Middle East and Central Asia to achieve economic growth this year.
 


Saudi Arabia pips Russia to be China’s biggest oil supplier in 2020

Saudi Arabia pips Russia to be China’s biggest oil supplier in 2020
Updated 25 min 21 sec ago

Saudi Arabia pips Russia to be China’s biggest oil supplier in 2020

Saudi Arabia pips Russia to be China’s biggest oil supplier in 2020
  • Oil demand in China, the world’s top oil importer, remained strong last year
  • Saudi shipments to China in 2020 rose 1.9 percent from a year earlier to 84.92 million tons

BEIJING/SINGAPORE: Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, beat Russia to keep its ranking as China’s top crude supplier in 2020, Chinese government data showed on Wednesday.
Oil demand in China, the world’s top oil importer, remained strong last year even as the coronavirus crisis hammered global appetite.
Chinese imports rose 7.3 percent to a record of 542.4 million tons or 10.85 million barrels per day (bpd).
Saudi shipments to China in 2020 rose 1.9 percent from a year earlier to 84.92 million tons, or about 1.69 million bpd, data from the General Administration of Chinese Customs showed.
Russia was a close second with shipments of 83.57 million tons, or 1.67 million bpd, up 7.6 percent from 2019, the data showed.
In December, Saudi supplies were 6.94 million tons, down 0.8 percent from the same month a year earlier, while Russian volumes fell 15.7 percent to 6.2 million tons.
China’s imports of US oil more than tripled in 2020 to 19.76 million tons, or 394,000 bpd, compared to a year earlier, as companies bought crude under a trade deal between Washington and Beijing.
Imports were 3.6 million tons in December.
China’s total purchases of major US energy products, including crude, liquefied natural gas, propane, butane and coal, were worth $9.784 billion in 2020, about 38.7 percent of the $25.3 billion target set out in the Phase 1 trade deal.
Saudi Arabia has played catch up as a supplier since November by cutting prices to woo customers, overtaking Russia, which had led for most of 2020 with more flexible transport options and geographical proximity to Chinese refiners.
US sanctions nearly choked off oil exports from Iran and Venezuela, while Iraq was the main beneficiary.
Iraq’s oil exports to China rose 16.1 percent to 60.12 million tons in 2020, making it China’s third largest oil supplier.
Cashing in on lower prices and with aggressive marketing to China’s independent refiners, Brazil expanded oil exports to China to become its fourth biggest supplier last year.
Brazil’s oil exports to China rose 5.1 percent to 42.19 million tons.