Egypt net foreign reserves rise to $38.2 bln at end-January

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Egypt’s foreign reserves registered in January the biggest month-on-month jump since July last year as the country pushed forward with economic reforms aimed at boosting growth.

Foreign reserves rose to $38.209 billion at the end of January from $37.020 billion at the end of December, the central bank said on Sunday.

It did not immediately provide details on what accounted for the jump.

Cairo’s foreign reserves have been climbing since Egypt secured a $12 billion International Monetary Fund loan in November 2016 that included a raft of austerity measures aimed to revive the economy after years of turmoil.

The reserves hit a record high in July, and have risen every month since.

Reserves had dropped to about $19 billion before Egypt signed the three-year IMF deal that included floating the currency and lifting capital controls to lure back investors.

“It’s positive, import cover is now close to 8 months,” said Allen Sandeep, head of research at Naeem Brokerage in Cairo.

Central bank sub-governor Rami Aboul Naga said on Tuesday reserves were sufficient to cover imports for the next eight months.

“It will be even more positive if this was a result of real improvements in the trading account - for example, higher exports and drop in imports. Non-oil,” Sandeep added.

Tightening the trade deficit is key for Egypt as it works to focus its spending on growth-inducing and job-creating efforts.

The country’s foreign reserves at the end of January 2017 were $26.363 billion.

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