Revenues at the Suez Canal fell by just 0.5 per cent to $390m in December 2009, the smallest year-on-year drop since November 2008.

The number of ships passing through the waterway in December was 1,452, an increase from the 1,418 recorded in November 2009, according to the latest figures from the Suez Canal Authority, which manages the waterway.

The small fall in revenues compares to a 13 per cent drop recorded in November 2009, compared to the same month the year before. Revenues in November 2009 were $366m (MEED 08:12:09).

The Suez Canal has yet to recover from the decline in global trade prompted by the global economic downturn over the past year.

Total revenues for the first half of the fiscal year 2009/10 reached $2.3bn, compared to $2.7bn during the same period the year before.

Local investment bank EFG-Hermes says it expects revenues at the waterway to rise 2.9 per cent year-on-year to $4.9bn in the first half of 2010.