Egypt’s net foreign assets (NFAs) improved by 47.28 billion Egyptian pounds in December, marking a second month of increases after it allowed its currency to depreciate sharply in October, central bank data showed.
NFAs improved to a negative 494.3 billion Egyptian pounds from a negative 541.5 billion in November.
This works out to an improvement of about $2.06 billion using end-of-month central bank exchange rates, according to Reuters calculations.
Before the October depreciation, the central bank had been relying on NFAs, which represent banking system assets owed by non-residents minus liabilities, to help support the currency. NFAs include foreign assets held by the central bank.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February sparked a currency crisis that led to Egypt to begin negotiating with the International Monetary Fund for a financial assistance package.
The central bank allowed the pound to depreciate by 14.5 per cent on Oct. 27 as part of a $3.0 billion rescue package it concluded with the IMF. Since then it has continued to let the currency weaken.
The pound has fallen by nearly 50 per cent since the invasion to about 30 to the dollar after the crisis caused tourism to fall, commodity import prices to rise and foreign investors to pull more than $20 billion out of Egyptian treasury markets.
NFAs stood at a positive 248 billion pounds in September 2021, before the decline began.
Changes in the amount of NFAs represent net transactions of the banking system with the foreign sector, including those of the central bank, according to the bank.