The headquarters of Egypt's Central Bank are seen in downtown Cairo (Reuters)
Egypt’s external debt receded for the first time in years in the first quarter of 2020, reaching $111.3 billion, a decline of $1.4 billion from the total of $112.7 billion in December 2019.
The external dept to GDP ratio also declined to 31.7 percent in the first quarter of this year from 33.5 percent in December 2019, the Central Bank of Egypt said in a recent report, describing this level as the safe limit according to international measures in this regard.
Public external debt dropped to $60.4 billion in the same quarter from $61.4 billion during the fourth quarter of 2019, a decline of $1 billion, following the drop in the public debt, owing to bonds and T-bill offering yields, to $20.1 billion, down from $20.9 billion in December 2019.
In addition, public external debt from loans fell to $40.3 billion from $40.6 billion in the fourth quarter of 2019, a decrease of $225.4 million, according to the report.
The CBE’s external debt decreased to $27.8 billion during the same quarter, down from $27.9 billion in the fourth quarter of 2019, or a drop of $70.6 million, which was due to the drop in the bank’s short-term debt to around $2.6 billion in the first quarter of 2020, according to the report.
On the other hand, the central bank’s long-term debt increased by $492.9 million, from $24.7 billion in the fourth quarter of 2019 to $25.2 billion in the first quarter of 2020.
The report also showed that the external debt of banks declined to $8.3 billion during the first quarter of the year, down from $8.7 billion in the fourth quarter of 2019, dropping $485.2 million, owing to the decline in short-term debt, which was down from $3.4 billion to $2.6 billion in the same period.
In May and June, Egypt received $4.4 billion in loans from the International Monetary Fund under its Rapid Finance Instrument (RFI) and Stand-By Agreement (SBA) mechanisms. It will receive a further $3.2 billion over two reviews that will be carried out in December 2020 and June 2021 under the SBA.
Egypt’s international reserves have started to bounce back amid the COVID-19 crisis, reaching $38.2 billion in June, up $2.2 billion from the figure of $36 billion in May, according to the CBE.