Pre-Revolt Level in Sight for Egypt Reserves After May Gains

  • Net foreign reserves rose 9 percent in May to $31.1 billion
  • Reserves peaked at $36 billion before the uprising in 2011

Egypt’s net international reserves are nearing levels unseen since the 2011 Arab Spring uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak from the presidency.

May reserves rose 9 percent from the previous month to $31.1 billion, according to data posted on the Central Bank of Egypt’s website. That’s the highest level since February 2011 and about $5 billion short of the $36 billion peak seen in December 2010.

The removal of currency restrictions in November and a $12 billion International Monetary Fund loan deal that followed have allowed Egypt to rebuild its foreign currency holdings. The government sold $3 billion worth of international bonds in May while foreign investors bought hundreds of millions of dollars in local Treasury bills. The central bank did not provide a breakdown of how it used these inflows.

Foreign debt grew 21 percent in the six months to December to $67.3 billion, equal to almost 40 percent of gross domestic product, according to the latest central bank data.

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