CAIRO (Reuters) - Revenue from Egypt's Suez Canal reached $1.239 billion in the first quarter of 2016, up slightly from $1.236 billion in the same period last year, the state news agency MENA quoted the Suez Canal Authority chairman as saying on Wednesday. Mohab Mameesh said the canal's revenues had increased despite slowing global trade.
The Suez Canal Authority usually reports the canal's revenues in dollars every month towards the end of the following month. Since February it has not published dollar figures for revenues on its website, making monthly comparisons hard to assess after the central bank devalued the pound in March.
Egypt's central bank devalued the pound to 8.85 per dollar from 7.73 on March 14 and announced it would pursue a more flexible exchange rate. It later strengthened the pound to 8.78 per dollar.
The canal is one of Egypt's main sources of foreign currency. Egypt has been struggling to revive its economy since a 2011 uprising scared away tourists and foreign investors, other main sources of hard currency.
Reserves tumbled to $16.5 billion in February from around $36 billion before the uprising. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi inaugurated an $8 billion expansion of the Suez Canal in August that aimed to double daily traffic and increase annual revenue to more than $13 billion by 2023.
But monthly revenues have shown either declines or slow growth levels since the inauguration.
Annual revenue for 2015 showed a decline to $5.175 billion in 2015 from $5.465 billion in the previous year, data from the Suez Canal Authority showed.
(Reporting by Omar Fahmy; Writing by Ahmed Aboulenein; Editing by Mark Heinrich)