Egypt’s business digest Aug. 8: Egyptian foreign reserves down to $15.536 bln at end-July; Reports- Egypt has proposed to IMF 18-month reform program
A man walks past an exchange bureau advertisement showing images of the U.S dollar in Cairo, Egypt, February 21, 2016. REUTERS
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Egyptian foreign reserves down to $15.536 bln at end-July

(Reuters) – Egypt’s net foreign reserves fell sharply to $15.536 billion at the end of July, the central bank said on Sunday. Reserves stood at $17.546 billion at the end of June.

Egypt had roughly $36 billion in reserves before an uprising in 2011 overthrew Hosni Mubarak. That ushered in a period of political turmoil that scared away tourists and foreign investors, key sources of foreign exchange.

Foreign currency reserves in July were further drained as Egypt returned a $1 billion deposit to Qatar and paid $720 million in fees to the Paris Club of creditor nations.

The dollar shortage has stifled business activity in the heavily import-dependent country, with goods stacking up at ports and investor confidence dropping.

The central bank has been rationing its dollar reserves through regular weekly sales, keeping the pound artificially strong at 8.78 per dollar.

Egypt devalued the pound by 13 percent in March in an effort to close the gap between the official and parallel rates, which hovered at around 12.5 last week, but the move failed to boost dollar liquidity or close the gap.

 

Reports- Egypt has proposed to IMF 18-month reform program

(AP) — Egyptian dailies say Cairo has proposed to IMF delegates an 18-month reform program in return for a $12 billion loan over three years to shore up its economy.

Monday’s reports by three dailies — Al-Shorouk, Al-Masry Al-Youm and Al-Watan — say differences remain on the size of a proposed devaluation of the pound and the timetable for implementing some of the more politically sensitive reforms, like state subsidies.

According to the papers, the International Monetary Fund has rejected requests for a delay or a staggered implementation of the reforms. They all quote unnamed government officials familiar with the Egypt-IMF talks that started last week.

Egypt is struggling to keep its economy afloat, with a slump in tourism, foreign currency shortages and double digit inflation and unemployment among its main ailments.

 

 

Sisi decrees to amend deal on oil exploration in Western Sahara

President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi has decreed that Egyptian Ministry of Petroleum could contact with Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) and Apache Khalda Corporation LDC to amend an agreement for obligation to search and exploit oil in the Khalda area of Western Sahara, Youm7 reported Monday.

 

Ministry of Housing tender 10 projects worth 200 bln EGP

Egyptian Ministry of Housing will tender ten projects worth 200 billion EGP over the coming ten years, al-Maal newspaper reported Minister Mostafa Madbouly Monday.

The projects are the second bunch of the investments and joint projects that have been scheduled to be carried out since 2015 March economic conference in Sharm el Sheikh.

 

CBE writes 5 exchange firms off

Central Bank of Egypt has written more five exchange firms off over “committing acts aimed to harm Egyptian economy”. The number of suspended companies rose to 47 firms nationwide since the government has launched campaigns on exchange outlets to get rid of black market’s control on hard currency.

Since Egypt devaluated Egyptian pound against the U.S. dollar in March amid shortage in the hard currency, the pound value was gravely increased in the black market.

 

Egypt’s main index rises by 0.85% at Monday opening session

Egypt’s main stock index went up by 0.85 percent at 8293 points, pushing benchmark to gain 2.3 billion EGP, an hour after the start of trading process, Youm7 reported Monday.

On Thursday, Cairo’s main index declined by 0.4 percent, ending three sessions of gains that had taken the benchmark to a 13-month high on Thursday, Reuters reported Sunday.

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