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Egypt’s inflation hits 32.7% in March on higher food prices

Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh
Headline inflation surged to an annual 32.7% in May, just short of an record high, from 30.6% in April

Egypt’s annual urban consumer inflation rate in March climbed to 32.7 percent year on year, just shy of an all-time record, from 31.9 percent in February, data from the country’s statistics agency Capmas showed.

Month on month, urban inflation slowed to 2.7 percent in March from 6.5 percent in February and 4.7 percent in January.

Egypt’s surging inflation rate follows a series of currency devaluations starting in March 2022, a prolonged shortage of foreign currency and continuing delays in getting imports into the country.

Egypt, which secured a $3 billion financial support package from the International Monetary Fund in December, has devalued its currency by half since March 2022 after the fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine exposed vulnerabilities in its economy.

Though month-on-month inflation slowed, it remained among the highest readings on record.

The increase was driven by a rise in food prices linked to Ramadan-related high seasonal demand, the impact of currency devaluation, particularly in the informal market, and the effect of a raw material shortage, Naeem Brokerage wrote in a note.

The median forecast of 13 analysts polled had shown annual urban consumer inflation rising to 33.6 percent in March.

Egypt’s highest inflation rate ever was 32.952 percent, reached in July 2017, eight months after Egypt devalued its currency by half as part of a previous $12 billion IMF support package.