By Mohamed Salah
Against all expectations, the Central Bank of Egypt announced yesterday that the country’s foreign currency reserves fell by $84 million in September, but remain above the barrier of $15 billion.
The international reserves, which reached $15.13 billion in August dropped to $15.04 billion by the end of September as reported by the CBE.
Before the announcement, all speculations pointed towards an expected increase in the foreign reserves; Ismail Hassan, the former Central Bank governor and the chairman of Egypt- Iran development bank had stated earlier that the potential increase in the reserves was due to the increasing political stability, and security in the streets which was reflected positively in tourism’s revenues, stability also influenced the stock exchange, and the foreign investment.
Hassan added that the amounts withdrawn from the national reserves have decreased in the last few months, compared to the period which followed the revolution, according to Al-Ahram.
The vice chairman of the Egyptian Society for Financial and Investment Studies, Mohsen Adel, explained the surprising results by the increase in the “importing appetite” of either a government trying to respond to the global demand for goods and petroleum products; or an expanding private sector.
Adel added that the delay of the second installment of the Qatari deposit contributed to the fall of the international reserves; it will be accounted for in October and not September, as reported by Al-Masry Al-Youm.
He expected that the reserves will return to their upwards trend, which reached a high in August, due to the expected growth in tourism and the increase in foreign direct investments , plus the new installment of the Qatari fund due in October.
Foreign currency reserves, which reached $36.1 billion in December 2010, have fallen sharply following the 25 January revolution, losing $21 billion of their worth in 21 months.