Egypt foreign currency reserves up for first time in 5 months

Ahram Online, Wednesday 8 May 2013

Net international reserves increase by $1 billion in April to $14.4 billion thanks to Libyan cash deposits at Egypt's central bank

Egyptian Central Bank
An Egyptian policeman directs the traffic in front of the Egyptian Central Bank offices in Cairo, Egypt (Photo: AP)

Egypt's Net International Reserves (NIR) grew by around $1 billion in April, registering the first increase since October of last year, due to Libyan cash deposits at the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE).

Total NIR reached $14.42 billion by the end of April 2013, up from $13.4 billion at the end of the previous month.

In April, Libya deposited $2 billion at the CBE in an effort to support Egypt's faltering economy. The oil-rich North African country also said it would supply Egypt with $1.2 billion worth of crude oil on interest-free credit for one year.

In January of this year, Egypt's foreign reserves saw a sharp decline of $1.4 billion to $13.613 billion, a level that CBE officials described as "critical."

On 14 April, the CBE held an exceptional foreign exchange auction for $600 million to provide local importers with cash to import essential commodities such as wheat, meat and cooking oil.

Egypt's NIR have plunged by more than half since the 2011 uprising, which scared off both tourists and investors – both considered main sources of foreign currency for Egypt. In January 2011, Egypt's net reserves stood at some $36 billion.

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