Egypt’s Reserves Hit Highest Level Since 2011 After IMF Deal

Egypt’s net foreign reserves rose to the highest level in more than five years in November, as the country started receiving money from the International Monetary Fund and global lenders.

Reserves reached $23.1 billion, up from $19 billion in October, according to data posted on the central bank’s website. Egypt got the first $2.75 billion installment of a $12 billion loan from the IMF in November, and the central bank was able to secure $2 billion in funding from international banks. Central bank Governor Tarek Amer has said he’s targeting $25 billion in reserves by year-end.

Authorities burned through billions of dollars to defend the local currency after the 2011 Arab Spring uprising ousted President Hosni Mubarak and years of turmoil undermined the economy. The IMF deal was finalized after North Africa’s biggest economy floated the Egyptian pound last month to end a crippling currency crisis and cut subsidies.

“This level of reserves suggests that the central bank has not intervened in the foreign-exchange market since the flotation,” said Reham ElDesoki, senior economist with Dubai-based Arqaam Capital. “It means that commercial banks were likely able to meet their clients’ needs independently over the past month without the central bank’s help.”

The government also plans to tap the international bond market to raise at least $2.5 billion in January. Foreign investors in local stocks and debt have also started to return after the currency controls were scrapped.

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