Egypt Said to Clear Backlog of Investors Repatriating Funds

  • Official doesn’t specify amount cleared, type of investors
  • Development indicates Egypt’s currency shortage is easing

Egypt has cleared the backlog of investors seeking to repatriate funds, a central bank official said, a further indication that the shortage of hard currency that crippled the economy is easing.

The official, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public, didn’t specify the amount of cleared funds. It probably refers only to investors in stocks and bonds, who had at least $100 million awaiting repatriation through mid-January, according to Reham ElDesoky, senior economist at Dubai-based Arqaam Capital.

Evidence is growing that Egypt is turning the corner after its economy was starved of investment and hard currency during years of political upheaval since the 2011 uprising against President Hosni Mubarak. Authorities have removed restrictions on the pound, cut subsidies and secured a $12 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund. A $4 billion Eurobond issuance last month boosted reserves to the highest level in more than five years.

"This is a positive signal to the market," ElDesoky said. “It should spur more investment in equities and debt going forward, as it indicates that the system is satisfying foreign-currency demand.”

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