Egypt’s hydrocarbon trade balance registered an $800 million surplus during Q4 2018, its first since Q4 2013, according to the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE), Egypt Oil & Gas reports.

Petroleum exports surged to $3.2 billion, increasing by 60% Year-on-Year and (YoY) and 14.3% Quarter-on-Quarter (QoQ).

Meanwhile, imports declined to $2.4 billion during Q4 2018, decreasing by nearly 46% YoY and 33% QoQ, as shown by the CBE’s balance of payments data.

The hydrocarbon trade balance continued to improve for the fourth consecutive quarter, which was mainly attributed to lower imports, and the accelerating annual pace of domestic natural gas production, the CBE explained in its monetary policy report.

Natural gas extractions contributed 1.1% to the gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate, which stood at 5.5% during Q4 2018. Thus, it was the main drive for a boost in the public sector contribution to the GDP at 1.9%, compared with 1.4% in Q3 2018, and 1.6% in Q4 2017.

The report also pointed to the rise in crude oil prices and the slowdown in global economic growth, which recorded 2.5% in Q4 2018, compared with 2.7% during Q3 2018, and 3.2% in Q4 2017, its highest level since 2011.

On the other hand, economic growth in emerging markets remained stable at 4.9% during Q4 2018, with the return of foreign capital inflows.