The price of imported printing paper in Egypt showed a marked increase by about 18%, jumping to 51,000 Egyptian pounds (EGP) per ton, as compared to 43,000 pounds per ton at the beginning of this month, noting that the paper price did not exceed 17,000 pounds before the Central Bank of Egypt’s decision to float the pound against the dollar on 21 March, 2022.
Sources in the paper division at the Cairo Chamber of Commerce stated that merchants had notified their dealers of an increase in the price of imported paper by 3,000 pounds per ton within 24 hours, against the background of the decline in the value of the pound against the dollar, and the continuing crisis of stockpiling goods in ports due to the delay among lenders to secure foreign exchange for importers.
It was also stated that the increase in the price of printing paper was due to the high demand coinciding with the beginning of the academic year, which foreshadows further escalation until the year end. The sources also stated that the hike in paper prices was clearly reflected in the retail prices of notebooks, textbooks, and brochures, which showed an increase ranging between 40-70% over the past two months.
Egypt’s annual consumption of paper is estimated to be around 5,00,000 tons, of which 2,10,000 tons are produced locally by the Quena Paper Industry Company, Misr Edfu Paper Company, and other smaller manufacturers, while the rest is imported from abroad, most notably from Brazil and Finland, to bridge the gap between production and consumption.
Like several countries across the globe, Egypt too is feeling the heat of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, which has led to a rapid exodus of portfolio investments, an increase in the import bill for goods, and a dip in tourism revenues. Banking authorities on the other hand remain obligated to importers with letters of credit, which has led to a sharp slowdown in imports and bottlenecks at ports.