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Egypt's foreign reserves reach $16.8 bn in August: CBE

Lack of major financial commitments helps reserves climb - but could be hit later this year when Egypt must return $3 billion to Qatar

Ahram Online, Sunday 7 Sep 2014
An employee of a money changer counts U.S. dollar notes for a customer at a bank in Cairo, December 31, 2013 (Photo: Reuters)

Egypt's net international reserves inched up for the second consecutive month, reaching $16.8 billion in August, up from $16.7 billion in July, the Central Bank of Egypt said on Sunday.

"There were no extraordinary financial commitments which could have destabilised the reserves in August," Walaa Hazem, fund manager at Cairo-based HC Securities, told Ahram Online.

However, he suggests the reserves could be tested when Egypt returns a $3 billion deposit from Qatar in October and November of this year.

Qatar, a supporter of ousted president Mohamed Morsi, gave Egypt $7.5 billion in aid during the Islamist president's one-year term. Relations between the two countries deteriorated rapidly after Morsi's removal and Egypt has since returned $3 billion of the aid.

The reserves, which stood at $36 billion in 2010, have been in decline since an uprising toppled the regime of long-time strongman Hosni Mubarak in January 2011.

An influx of financial aid from the Gulf – Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, following Morsi's ouster – led reserves to jump from $14.9 billion to $18.8 billion in July 2013.



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