CBE clears multibillion-dollar backlog as FX crisis fades

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Bloomberg, Egypt has cleared a multibillion-dollar backlog of foreign-currency requests from importers and foreign companies since devaluing the pound in November, a Central Bank official said. The banking system is also meeting new foreign-currency requests without delay, the official said upon condition of anonymity.

CBE shared previously unpublished data with Bloomberg, showing that USD1.5bn in pending requests from multinationals to transfer to the mother companies or pay suppliers have been cleared. Some USD552mn have been made available to foreign companies seeking to remit dividends. The official also said increased availability of foreign currency in the banking system had boosted trading on the interbank system, as some banks were now selling their surplus dollars through it.

An outstanding USD2.1bn in requests made by importers and other businesses seeking to settle temporary overdrafts taken out before the floatation have also been cleared. In total, USD49bn of trade-financing transactions were executed between the floatation of the pound and August, the official said. The state-run oil company Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation received foreign-currency allocations of USD6bn between November and July for new trade deals, the official said, as well as USD2bn to pay part of its arrears to international oil companies built up during the dollar crunch. The company’s outstanding debt is not counted as part of the foreign-currency backlog in the banking system.

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