Egypt’s foreign reserves climb to $16.5 billion in February

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Egypt’s foreign currency reserves have surged by $56 million in February for the fifth consecutive month, to reach $16.533 billion from $16. 477 billion the previous month, the central bank announced on its website Thursday.

The last drop in reserves was in September, when they stood at $16.3 billion, down from $18 billion in August.

Egypt’s foreign reserves stood at about $36 billion before the 2011 revolt but have dwindled since the uprising scared off tourists and foreign investors, which represent key sources of foreign exchange.

Earlier in February, Central Bank of Egypt (CBE)’s Governor Tarek Amer said the bank would consider floating the local currency when foreign reserves hit between $25 billion and $30 billion.

“When reserves reach $25 billion to $30 billion, we will consider it,” said Governor Tarek Amer in a televised interview when asked about whether the CBE was considering floating the Egyptian Pound, seen as overvalued by many, in the midst of a foreign currency shortage crisis.

As part of Egyptian government’s medium term scheme for the financial years from 2015/16 until 2018/2019, the country’s foreign reserves should mount to $28 billion.