Foreigners Bought $1 Billion in Egyptian Debt Since Mid-March

Foreign holdings in Egypt debt grew by more than $1 billion in less than a month, a sign that investor confidence isn’t waning five months after authorities floated the pound and secured an IMF loan.

Overseas holdings of government securities reached 79 billion Egyptian pounds ($4.4 billion) as of April 4, Samy Khallaf, head of public debt at the finance ministry, told Bloomberg on Wednesday. That compares with about 61 billion pounds as of March 14 and 22 billion pounds at the end of January.

Egyptian debt instruments, which offer pretax yields close to 20 percent, have been a prime target for foreign investors seeking to enter the market after the central bank removed currency controls in November. Egypt also secured a $12 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund that was viewed by officials as crucial to boosting confidence in the country.

Foreigners held $10 billion in Egyptian debt before the 2011 uprising that ousted former President Hosni Mubarak, triggering years of economic and political instability.

The government sold 23.5 billion pounds’ of 12-month and 6-month T-Bills on Thursday, almost double the amount it was originally seeking, according to Finance Ministry data. This helped keep the average yields little changed, at 19.173 percent and 19.373 percent for the 12-month and 6-month notes respectively.

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