CAIRO - Egypt's deficit in net foreign assets (NFAs) shrank by 217.1 billion Egyptian pounds ($7.04 billion) in February, according to central bank data, after a $5 billion payment from the sale of development rights to prime Mediterranean land.

Egypt received the initial $5 billion payment from the United Arab Emirates in its $24 billion deal at Ras El Hekma peninsula west of Alexandria, Prime Minister Mosfafa Madbouly announced on Feb. 29.

The February deficit dropped to 679 billion pounds. The figure did not yet reflect an $8 billion expanded financial support programme with the International Monetary Fund signed on March 6.

Commercial bank foreign assets surged in February by 911.3 billion pounds month-on-month, while their liabilities dipped by 15.73 billion pounds, according to the data. Central bank foreign liabilities decreased by 81.6 billion pounds.

NFAs represent both central bank and commercial bank assets held by non-residents, minus their liabilities.

The central bank had been drawing on the country's NFAs to help support Egypt's currency over the past two and a half years. In September 2021, NFAs stood at a positive 248 billion pounds.

Egypt devalued its currency to under 50 pounds to the dollar as part of the March 6 IMF agreement after having left it fixed at 30.85 to the dollar for a year. Since then it has strengthened to 47.10 pounds to the dollar.

(Reporting by Patrick Werr Editing by Peter Graff)