The National Bank of Egypt (NBE) has financed import operations worth US$4.3 billion since the decision to float the Egyptian pound on 3 November 2016 until 18 January 2017 according to the bank's vice president, Yehia Abu ElFotouh.

This compares with US$2.2 billion provided by all of Egypt's banks in the ten days since the liberalisation of the exchange rate (DC World News, 7 December 2016).

L/C boom

Egypt's banks have been struggling for over a year to make available foreign currency and letters of credit (L/Cs), the shortage of which has caused problems for many businesses, from manufacturers to motor dealers, (DC World News, 13 November 2015 and 3 February 2016).

Abu ElFotouh has now told Egyptian media that, out of the US$4.3 billion of import finance provided by NBE since liberalisation, the bank opened L/Cs and collections worth about US$2.3 billion to finance private sector imports.

Egypt's largest and oldest bank also provided the public sector with about US$2 billion to finance import operations.

Economic recovery

Abu ElFotouh expects an increasing volume of US dollar business due to a recovery in the tourism sector and more direct and indirect foreign investments.

He also anticipates more US dollar remittances from Egyptians working abroad.

This article represents the views of the author and not necessarily those of the ICC or any of the other partners in DC-PRO.