Egypt continues to maintain its position as the Arab world’s largest consumer market. With an estimated 96 million citizens and one of the world’s fastest growing populations, market demand will continue to grow. Although the country faced various economic challenges following the 2011 and 2013 regime changes and subsequent decreas- es in tourism revenues, the economic reforms adopted in late 2016 are beginning to bear fruit and economic prospects appear markedly improved in mid-2018. Analysts expect an improvement in economic growth and an increase in purchasing power during the coming years, as well as increased disposable incomes. Expansion in mass grocery retail and e-commerce are coming on the back of these improvements.
Activity in the Egyptian non-oil private sector remained stubbornly in negative territory in February 2018, slowing at a faster pace than in the previous month.. The Emirates NDB index of private sector business managers recorded a gure of 49.7 on an index where any number above 50 indicates growth. It was a sharp rise from the 49.9 in January. However, some of the messages from the survey data were upbeat in comparison to recent annual averag- es. In particular, new orders, new export orders, and business optimism were all in positive territory. This will boost hopes that the headline gure will begin to breach the 50.0 level more consistently in the coming quarters. In its Budget for the 2018/19 scal year that was published in March 2018, the government forecast growth of 5.8%, up from 5.2% in the current scal year that ends in June. This follows comments by planning minister Hala al-Saeed said economic growth for the second quarter of the 2017/18 scal year — the last quarter of the 2017 calendar year — had risen to around 5.3% from 3.8% in the same period last year. The government expects an economic growth rate of 5.0%-52.5% in the current scal year ending in June 2018.