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CAIRO Jan 5 Egypt's net foreign reserves rose
to $24.265 billion at the end of December from $23.058 billion
at the end of November, the central bank said on Thursday, cash
that economists said would cover imports for more than five
Egypt has been struggling with a foreign currency shortage
since an uprising in 2011 drove away tourists and foreign
investors, and had roughly $36 billion in reserves before then.
Domestic debt rose by 5.3 percent in the first quarter of
2016/2017 to reach 2.758 trillion Egyptian pounds ($154.42
billion) at the end of September verses 2.619 trillion at the
end of June, the central bank said in a statement.
And Egypt's external debt rose to $60.153 billion at the
end of September from $55.764 billion at the end of July, the
Egypt floated its currency in November as part of a series
of economic reforms aimed at reducing the budget deficit and
balancing the currency market. The move helped it clinch a $12
billion three-year loan from the International Monetary Fund.
The reserves were further supported, economists say, by a $2
billion repurchase transaction that the central bank secured
with global banks last month. The transaction with a consortium
of international banks has a maturity of one year.
"The central bank succeeded in achieving its target of $25
billion ... The rise is strong and noticeable and would cover
imports for more than five months," Cairo-based CI Capital
economist Hany Farahat said.
"The rise in reserves will restore confidence in the central
bank's ability to restore stability in the foreign exchange
market," said Farahat.
The country of over 90 million has been seeking a variety of
funding sources, from development loans to foreign grants and
aid, to plug its financing needs as it struggles with an acute
dollar shortage caused by years of post-uprising turmoil.
($1 = 17.8600 Egyptian pounds)
(Reporting by Ahmed Tolba and Ehab Farouk; Writing by Amina
Ismail; Editing by Giles Elgood and Louise Ireland)