Egypt forex reserve fall 'could slow'
Cairo, February 24, 2013
The rate of decline in Egypt's foreign reserves could fall next month, Central Bank Governor Hisham Ramez was quoted as saying on Sunday.
In comments to Al-Shorouk newspaper, Ramez added he expected the government would present its economic reform plan to the International Monetary Fund within a week in a step towards concluding an agreement for a $4.8 billion loan.
Egypt's foreign exchange reserves hit $13.6 billon in January, compared to $36 billion on the eve of the 2011 uprising that ousted former President Hosni Mubarak.
Reserves have been hit by political turmoil that has scared off investors and tourists. They are now less than the amount needed to cover three months of imports.
"The rate of decline in foreign reserves could be lowered next month," Al-Shorouk newspaper quoted Ramez as saying. It did not give a direct quote.
Ramez said Egypt would present its economic reform plan to the IMF in a week after it discusses it with "the people and political parties".
The IMF signed a preliminary agreement with Egypt in November, but ratification was postponed at Cairo's behest in December following the eruption of a new wave of political unrest.
Diplomats say an IMF deal could unlock up to $12 billion in extra funding from a range of sources including the World Bank, the European Union, the United States and Gulf Arab countries.
The Egyptian pound has lost 14 percent of its value since the 2011 revolt, with more than 8 percent of the decline occurring since the end of December. - Reuters
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