Egyptian public banks to issue dollar certificates for citizens abroad

Ahram Online , Monday 29 Feb 2016

Egypt's Immigration Minister Nabila Makram Ebeid talks during a news conference in Cairo, Egypt, February 29, 2016 (Reuters)

Three state-owned Egyptian banks will offer US dollar-denominated certificates to Egyptian expats at a minimum subscription price of $100 in an attempt to attract their savings, state news agency MENA reported on Monday, citing immigration minister Nabila Makram Ebeid.

The new investment vehicle, named Belady (My Country), will be offered by the National Bank of Egypt (NBE), Banque du Caire and Banque Misr with maturities of one, three and five years at yields of 3.5 percent, 4.5 percent and 5.5 percent respectively.

Egypt has been suffering from a foreign currency crunch due to political upheavals since the 2011 uprisings, which has been exacerbated by plummeting tourism revenues since the deadly crash of a Russian airliner over Sinai last October. 

The certificates will be issued starting Tuesday, according to NBE Chairman Hesham Okasha, as reported by publicly-owned Al-Ahram's news website.

The certificates will be guaranteed by the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE), said Okasha.

In 2012, the NBE offered a three-year dollar-denominated saving certificate at a fixed interest rate of 4 percent to Egyptians living abroad on behalf of the finance ministry and generated some $400 million, MENA added.

Expat remittances registered $19.33 billion in the fiscal year 2014/15 according to data on the website of the Central Bank of Egypt.

Egypt's foreign currency reserves have declined by more than half since 2011, reaching $16.5 billion in January. 

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