Egypt’s net international reserves (NIRs) rose for the tenth month in a row to reach $40.3 billion by the end of March, up from $40.2 billion in February, the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) announced on Sunday.
NIRs are expected to be replenished in June after receiving the third tranche of the 12-month stand-by agreement programme’s loan that Egypt had obtained from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 2020 to finance the second wave of its economic reforms.
The third tranche, worth about $1.6 billion, will be handed to Egypt by the IMF after conducting the second review of the loan, which is expected to be executed in May.
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 of 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 remittances 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’s 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 FY2019/2020, which ended in June, expat remittances increased by 10.4 percent, reaching a record $27.8 billion, up from $25.2 billion in FY2018/2019.
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 the CBE’s data.