Egypt’s foreign exchange reserves rise

Egypt's reserves rose by $136mln in March, up from $40.201bln at the end of February and $40.101bln in January

  
An employee counts U.S dollar bills at a money exchange office in central Cairo, Egypt, March 20, 2019. Image used for illustrative purpose

An employee counts U.S dollar bills at a money exchange office in central Cairo, Egypt, March 20, 2019. Image used for illustrative purpose

REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany
 
CAIRO: Egypt’s foreign exchange reserves rose for the ninth consecutive month in March, reaching $40.337 billion, according to Central Bank of Egypt figures.

The country’s reserves rose by $136 million in March, up from $40.201 billion at the end of February and $40.101 billion in January.

This continued rise is despite the economic impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic last year, when Egypt’s foreign exchange reserves lost about $9.4 billion between March and May 2020. On May 12, Egypt received $2.7 billion from the International Monetary Fund.

Recent official data revealed that the country’s trade balance deficit decreased by about 18.2 percent to $3.15 billion during January, compared with about $3.85 billion during the same period last year.

According to the latest data from the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), the value of exports decreased by 8.4 percent, reaching about $2.5 billion during January, compared with about $2.72 billion during January 2020.

CAPMAS attributed this to a decline in exports of some commodities, with exports of petroleum products down by 2.5 percent, crude oil exports by 11.9 percent, ready-made clothes exports down by 8 percent, and exports of pasta and various food preparations down by 2.3 percent.

However, some exports did see increases, with fertilizer exports up by 19.3 percent, fresh fruit exports up by 17.9 percent, plastics exports up by 11.5 percent and an increase carpet and kilims exports by 7.1 percent.

Egyptian imports decreased by 13.9 percent, reaching about $5.65 billion during January 2021, compared with about $6.57 billion for the same month of 2020.

CAPMAS attributed this to a 9.5 percent decline in imports of petroleum products, a 14.1 percent decline in passenger car imports, a 3.7 percent decline in imports of raw materials of iron or steel and crude oil imports down by 53.7 percent.

The value of imports of some commodities increased in January, such as soybeans (up by 162.4 percent), corn (up 43.9 percent), plastics (up 18.9 percent) and medicines and pharmaceuticals (up 12 percent).

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