March 4 (Bloomberg) -- Egypt’s benchmark dollar bonds fell for the first time in three days and the pound weakened as the country’s foreign reserves fell for a fourth month to the lowest level in at least 15 years.
The yield on the government’s $1 billion of benchmark 5.75 percent dollar-denominated bonds due in April 2020 gained four basis points, or 0.04 percentage point, to 7.15 percent, near the highest level on a closing basis since June, at 4:28 p.m. in Cairo. The currency depreciated 0.1 percent, the most since Feb. 25, to 6.7442 a dollar, prices compiled by Bloomberg show.
Egypt’s foreign reserves fell by about $100 million in February to $13.5 billion, the lowest since Bloomberg started tracking the data in 1997, the central bank said today. That beat the median estimate of five economists compiled by Bloomberg for a decline to $13.2 billion. The central bank trimmed by 41 percent the amount of dollars made available to banks at foreign exchange auctions in February to $518 million compared with January, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The regulator sold $39.6 million to local lenders at today’s auction at a weighted average exchange rate of 6.7342 pounds a dollar, according to its data on Bloomberg. The currency has lost 8.2 percent of its value since the sales started on Dec. 30 to ration the use of the U.S. currency. Banks received less than a quarter of the dollars they bid for, the data show.
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