Coronavirus implications on Egypt

Egypt’s Ministry of Health announced the total infected cases as of 25 March 2020 is 456 cases, including 95 cases that have been cured and discharged from hospitals, and 21 deaths. As at today, several preventive measures has been taken to combat the spread of the new virus including suspending international flights, shutting down schools and universities, halting all entertainment activities and mass prayers in addition to reducing the number of public sector employees working at state institutions. 

On 24 March 2020, Prime minister Mostafa Madbouly announced a partial curfew in Egypt starting 25 March 2020 for 15 days. The curfew takes place between 7 pm until 6 am and Full day during the weekend. Egyptian authorities ordered cafes, nightclubs, sporting clubs and malls to fully lockdown. Egypt may resort to full lockdown, curfew in some regions if coronavirus cases increase.  In an effort to control the spread of the coronavirus, Egypt is suspending all flights into and out of the country’s airports since March 19. The flight shutdown will last through April 15, this will heavily affect economy. Losses in the tourism and aviation sectors during this period could exceed $143 million. 

On the food supply side, food supply and availability are top priority. As statement by Egypt’s Ministry of Supply and Internal Trade that affirmed the availability of all food commodities at local markets. He also mentioned that there is also a strategic stockpile to meets the country’s needs for several months to come. The Egyptian government is trying hard to maintain the supply of essential commodities including edible oil. According to trade sources, imports of strategic food commodities including edible oils are not affected till now. Shipments arrived as per plan, there is one palm oil consignment coming to Egypt on 27th March. The Egyptian government is affirming that all food ingredients should be available to smooth the food manufacturing process. The government urged all food manufacturers to continue operation with necessary precautions.  

In Jan-Mar 2020, total imports of RBD palm oil, RBD palm olein and RBD palm stearin decreased by 5% to record 266,266 MT as compared to 280,046 MT recorded in the same period last year. Following COVID 19 outbreak, as lower economic activities is expected including exportation of finished for products to the neighboring countries, huge reduction of tourism activities and closer of shops and restaurants. It is forecasted that the demand in the 1st half of 2020 to slow down and may dropdown by 10-15% compare to 1st half last year. Total imports of palm oil products in Jan-June 2019 were recorded at 521,000 MT.

Product Jan-Mar 2020 Jan-Mar 2019
Crude Palm Oil                         –                            –   
RBD palm oil               136,240                136,990 
RBD palm olein               115,820                124,888 
RBD palm stearin                 14,206                  18,168 
RBD palm kernel                   3,499                    6,500 
PFAD & oleochemical                   1,000                      999 
Total palm oil derivatives               270,765                287,545 
Jan – June 2020 (Est) Jan – June 2019
Total Palm Oil derivatives 443,000 521,000

Prepared by Mohd Suhaili Hambali

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