Egyptians usage of cards abroad dropped by a value of $223m in November and December 2016, following the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) decision to float the national currency—a drop of 55% compared to the same months in 2015.
In a press release on Tuesday, CBE stated that data from banks indicate that payments via cards abroad dropped by $169m in December (a 71% drop compared to December 2015). Usage of cards registered only $68.9m in December 2016, down from $237.9m in December 2015.
It added that November also registered a decrease of 32.2% in usage of cards abroad, reaching only $112m, down from $165.5m in November 2015. In the period between October and December 2016, Egyptians usage of cards abroad dropped by 26.3% to $416.7m, down from $565.7m in the same period of 2015.
Treasurer and head of reserves management at CBE, Rami Aboul Naga, said that CBE secured finances needed for Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) and the General Authority For Supply Commodities (GASC) worth $819m in January 2017, in addition to needs of government agencies and ministries worth $430m.
In his remarks, Aboul Naga said that the total obligations and finances needed and secured by CBE amount to $1.879bn, noting that Egyptian foreign exchange reserves, which reached $26.36bn at the end of last month, covers imports for 5.7 months.
He pointed out that Egypt also repaid $630m of its obligations in the project to develop Zohr field with the Italian company Eni in January, also repaying a monthly premium owed to the Paris Club.