Finance Minister Amr El-Garhy at a news conference in Cairo, Egypt. (Reuters)
The foreign holdings of Egyptian treasury bills have reached EGP 53 billion (roughly $3.3 billion), Egypt’s finance minister said on Sunday.
During a news conference organised by the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt, Amr El-Garhy said that the rise reflects foreign investors’ confidence in the Egyptian economy, following the implementation of its reform programme.
The international investments in the governmental debt tools were around EGP 10 billion (roughly $633 million), during the roadshow for the Egyptian eurobonds, El-Garhy said.
The 12-day roadshow, which started on 17 January, included the UAE's Abu Dhabi and Dubai, as well as New York, Boston, Los Angeles and London.
As a result, Egypt successfully issued $4 billion in eurobonds on the global bond market, the largest issuance in Egypt and Africa, bridging the funding gap for the current fiscal year 2016/17.
Speaking about the budget deficit, which registered 12.2 percent of GDP in the last fiscal year, 2015/16, El-Garhy said he expected the current year to see a drop to 10-10.2 percent of GDP.
"The tax amendments would be finished before May," he added, referring to the delayed capital gains tax and the projected stamp duty on stock trading.
Egypt suspended the capital gains tax in May 2015 for two years under pressure from investors. They said it was discouraging business just as Egypt was struggling to recover from a plunge in confidence after the 2011 revolution and subsequent political upheavals.
The Higher Investment Council last year extended the suspension of capital gains tax for three years, until 2020 as part of efforts to lure back investors.