Foreign reserves note $38M increase in October: Central Bank of Egypt
Central Bank of Egypt -YOUM7 (Archive)

CAIRO: Egypt’s net foreign reserves rose by $38 million to $16.9 billion by the end of October, up from $16.87 billion in September, the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) announced on its official website Thursday.

In September, the reserve added around $36 million. The foreign reserve allows the government to purchase basic commodities, such as wheat and petroleum products, and to pay off premiums and interest on foreign debts.

Egypt’s foreign reserves experienced a sharp decline after former President Hosni Mubarak’s resignation in 2011, from $35.8 billion at the end of December 2010 to only $17.48 billion in April 2014, according to CBE data. Revenues from tourism and foreign direct investment—two key sources of hard currency—have been hurt dramatically by political upheaval since 2011.

The reserve saw slight recovery after former president Mohamed Morsi’s ouster in 2013 due to $12 billion in aid pledged to Egypt from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.

The reserve was expected to slide once again as Egypt vowed to repay around $2.5 billion to the Qatari government in two installments. The first installment of $500 million was paid back earlier in October, while the second repayment of $2.2 billion is due at the beginning of November, CBE  Governor Hisham Ramez said in an interview with Al-Nahar TV in September.

“Egypt is committed to the timely repayment of the Qatari deposit,” Ramez said, reiterating the government’s pledge to repay what it owes to other countries.

The government also aims to attract new investments through an upcoming donor conference called for by Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz in a congratulatory cable to President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi following his election win. The conference is scheduled to be held Feb. 15.

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