May 7, 2020 / 3:54 PM / a month ago

CORRECTED-UPDATE 1-Foreign holdings of Egyptian pound T-bills fell by half in March

(In paragraph 3, corrects to say ..treasury bonds ..not.. treasury bills)

CAIRO, May 7 (Reuters) - Foreign investors sold more than half of their Egyptian pound treasury bill holdings in March, data published on Thursday on the central bank website showed, as the new coronavirus pandemic led them to pull money out of emerging markets.

Foreign customers held the equivalent of 149.3 billion Egyptian pounds ($9.5 billion) as of the end of March compared with 310.65 billion at the end of February, the bank said.

Finance Minister Mohamed Maait had told Al Arabiya news channel on April 9 that foreign investment in Egyptian treasuries stood at between $13.5 billion and $14 billion. This would include foreign holdings of treasury bonds, which the central bank doesn’t give figures for.

Egypt’s net foreign reserves dropped by $5.4 billion to $40.1 billion in March, while the net foreign assets of the country’s banks plummeted by 162.12 billion pounds, according to central bank figures.

Egypt on Thursday said its foreign reserves fell by a further $3.07 billion in April.

Foreign currency inflows have been hurt by a virtual halt in tourism from mid-March, while remittances from workers outside of Egypt have also come under threat. ($1 = 15.7000 Egyptian pounds) (Reporting by Patrick Werr; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Hugh Lawson)

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