Egypt Fuel-Subsidy Spending May Climb in January Quarter

The Egyptian government’s fuel subsidies may climb to as much as 30.9 billion Egyptian pounds ($4.79 billion) in the three months beginning Jan. 1, state-run Egyptian General Petroleum Corp. Chairman Hani Dahi said.

The North African country spent 30 billion pounds on the subsidies in each of the previous quarters of the fiscal year that started on July 1, 2012, Dahi said by phone from Cairo.

Egypt, with the Middle East’s biggest budget deficit, is struggling to cap public expenditure, 20 percent of which went to energy subsidies in the last fiscal year. The nation is waiting to finalize an agreement with the International Monetary Fund for $4.8 billion as its currency weakened against the dollar and its foreign reserves plunged.

“Spending on fuel subsidies in the third quarter will rise between 2 to 3 percent,” Dahi said. The government company, known as EGPC, owes foreign partners $4.5 billion, $1.8 billion of which it has agreed to pay back in instalments, he said.

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