Suez Canal revenues reach $3 billion since start of 2016

The canal is one of Egypt’s main sources of foreign currency

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Revenue from Egypt’s Suez Canal reached $3.183 billion in the period between January 1 and August 6, 2016, up 4 per cent from $3.059 billion in the same period last year, the Suez Canal Authority Chairman said on Saturday.

Mohab Mameesh, who was speaking at a one-year anniversary celebration of the opening of an expansion to the canal, said the canal’s revenues had increased despite slowing global trade.

The Suez Canal Authority usually reports the canal’s revenues in dollars every month towards the end of the following month. Since February it has not published dollar figures for revenues on its website, making monthly comparisons hard to assess after the central bank devalued the pound in March.

Egypt’s central bank devalued the pound to 8.85 per dollar from 7.73 on March 14 and announced it would pursue a more flexible exchange rate. It later strengthened the pound to 8.78 per dollar.

The canal is one of Egypt’s main sources of foreign currency. Egypt has been struggling to revive its economy since a 2011 uprising scared away tourists and foreign investors, other main sources of hard currency.

Reserves tumbled to $17.546 billion in June from around $36 billion before the uprising.

Mameesh said revenues had actually risen by 13 per cent when calculated in Egyptian pounds but that the rate had been slashed when calculated in dollars because of the devaluation.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi inaugurated an $8 billion expansion of the Suez Canal in August that aimed to double daily traffic and increase annual revenue to more than $13 billion by 2023. But monthly revenues have shown either declines or slow growth levels since the inauguration.

Annual revenue for 2015 showed a decline to $5.175 billion in 2015 from $5.465 billion in the previous year, data from the Suez Canal Authority showed.

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