CAIRO: The Central Bank of Egypt has announced, for the first time in years, a fall in the country’s external debt.
Figures for the first quarter (Q1) of the year showed the deferred payments total to be standing at $111.3 billion compared to $112.7 billion in Q4 of 2019.
A central bank report said the ratio of external debt to the gross domestic product decreased to 31.7 percent, which is considered a safe amount according to international standards.
Banking sources said that the Central Bank of Egypt had paid more than $17 billion in commitments to foreign funds and institutions during March and April, when the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak was spreading around the world.
Egypt had succeeded in obtaining around $9.7 billion from the International Monetary Fund and international markets between May and June, of which $4.4 billion had already been received with the rest arriving in two installments.
Central data revealed that the balance of long-term external debt decreased by $410 million during Q1, to record $100.975 billion, compared to $101.39 billion last December.
The balance of the debt fell to $10.316 billion by the end of March, compared to $11.28 billion at the end of last year.
Egypt’s foreign debt is split up with $60.4 billion owed by the government (54.27 percent), $27.78 billion by the Central Bank of Egypt (24.96 percent), $8.25 billion by other banks, and $14.85 billion in other sectors.
The external debt owed by the general government shrank by around $1 billion, down by 1.65 percent on a quarterly basis, to record $60.4 billion by the end of March, compared to $61.42 billion in December 2019.
The foreign debts owed by the Egyptian government at the end of the first quarter of this year were $20.07 billion in international bonds and $40.3 billion in loans.
The entire foreign debt owed by the government falls into the category of long-term debt with maturities of more than 12 months.
The monthly bulletin of the central bank revealed that the burdens of external debt service were recorded at around $13.7 billion between July 2019 and March and distributed in instalments valued at $10.6 billion with interest valued at $3.1 billion.