Egypt’s international reserves slightly increase to $40.2 bln in February

Doaa A.Moneim , Sunday 7 Mar 2021

The increase is the ninth for the NIRs since it started to bounce back last June after a sharp drop caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020


Egypt’s net international reserves (NIRs) rose for the nine month in a row to reach $40.2 billion by end of February, up from $40.1 billion in January, the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) announced on Sunday.

In September 2019, Egypt’s NIRs recorded an all-time high of $45.1 billion, before undergoing an immense drop in March 2020, down to $40 billion, driven by the unprecedented blow to global financial markets arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 has caused the sharpest portfolio flow reversal on record for emerging markets, including the Egyptian market, according to the CBE.

As for the end of June 2020, Egypt’s NIRs started to bounce back for the first time since March, rising to $38.2 billion, up from $36 billion in May.

In February, the CBE announced that emittances from Egyptian expats reached $27.1 billion from January to November 2020, up from the $24.2 billion a year earlier, an increase of 11.9 percent.

The CBE data shows that remittance flows in November 2020 reached $2.6 billion, a year-on-year increase of 2.6 percent, Reuters reported.

Egyptian expat remittances are considered one of the key sources of hard currency for the country alongside returns from the Suez Canal and the tourism sector.

In FY 2019/2020, which ended in June, expat remittances increased by 10.4 percent, reaching a record $27.8 billion, up from $25.2 billion in FY 2018/2019.

In the first quarter of the current FY2020/2021 (July-September), expat remittances recorded $8 billion, up from $6.7 billion in the same quarter of FY2019/2020, according to CBE data.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is expected to complete the second review of Egypt’s 12-month stand-by agreement (SBA), under which the fund approved a loan of $5.2 million for the country to implement its second wave of economic and structural reforms.

The second review will allow Egypt to receive the third tranche of the loan that is worth $1.6 billion.

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