Foreign Currency

Egyptians abroad sending more money home after devaluation


Egyptians working abroad have begun sending more money home since the country sharply devalued its currency last week, officials and bankers said on Wednesday.

Tourists walk past a currency exchange shop near the Ben Ezra synagogue in Coptic Cairo on 8 March [GETTY]

On 6 March, Egypt cut the Egyptian pound to about 50 to the dollar from just under 31 pounds, where it had been fixed for the previous 12 months. Since then, the pound has gradually strengthened, trading at 48.40 on Wednesday.

Four bankers told Reuters remittances had surged in the week since the devaluation. Egyptians abroad had been holding onto their funds or sending them home outside the banking system via the black market, where the pound last month fell to as low as 70 to the dollar, bankers and economists said.

Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly also said remittances had been increasing without giving figures.

The devaluation was part of Egypt’s $8 billion financial support agreement with the International Monetary Fund last week.

The most recent data released by the central bank show that remittances in the third quarter of 2023 dropped to $4.52 billion from $6.44 billion a year earlier. They were as high as $8.15 billion in the third quarter of 2021, months before the war in Ukraine helped trigger Egypt’s currency crisis.

One senior banker said he had seen no figures on the total remittances since the devaluation.

“But the flow generally is excellent,” he said.

The chronic lack of foreign currency had also caused goods to accumulate at Egyptian ports.

Madbouly said that $3 billion worth of goods had been released from ports over the last few days.

(Reuters)



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