23% increase in remittances from Egyptians expats in January: CBE

Remittances from Egyptian citizens working abroad rose by 23% in January to US$1.6 billion, compared to US$1.3 billion in January 2016, the Central Bank of Egypt said on Monday.

Since the currency devaluation in November, remittances have risen by about 19.7% to US$5 billion as of January, compared to $4.1 billion during the period of comparison, the CBE said in a statement.

CBE said last month that remittances from the last quarter of 2016 rose by 11.8% compared to the same period last year, to reach US$4.6 billion.

The Suez Canal and remittances from Egyptians living abroad are now the sole sources of foreign currency coming into the country, after the halt in gas exports to Israel and Jordan and the struggling tourism sector, which was exacerbated by the downing of the Russian passenger jet in October 2015.

Egypt floated the national currency on November 3. It devalued the Egyptian pound by about a third from the former peg of LE8.8 against the dollar and allowed it to drift lower.

Egypt's dollar peg had drained the central bank's foreign reserves, which were hit by reduced foreign investment following political turmoil in the past few years, forcing the central bank to impose capital controls and ration dollars.

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