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Egypt foreign reserves jump to $18.8B in July

Aug 05, 2013, 11:06 AM EDT

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt's foreign reserves rose to their highest level in almost two years, reaching $18.8 billion at the end of July, according to the latest central bank figures released on Monday.

The central bank's figures for July represent a nearly $4 billion jump from $14.9 billion at the end of June.

The bank did not provide details on the influx of cash, but the roughly 26 percent rise from the month before comes after oil-rich Arab Gulf countries pledged billions of dollars in aid to Egypt's interim government in the wake of the military coup that ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in early July.

The new reserve figures are their highest since November 2011. While July's reserve figures represent a significant boost, they are still roughly half of what they were prior to the 2011 uprising that ousted longtime President Hosni Mubarak from power.

Tourism and direct foreign investment — two of the country's foreign currency mainstays — have been decimated while manufacturing and productivity have been hard hit by strikes and ongoing demonstrations.

Officials have struggled to stem the work stoppages, strikes, protests and street violence over the past 2 ½ years.

Egypt's foreign reserves are needed to pay for vital imports and used to keep the local currency afloat. The Egyptian pound has lost more than 10 percent of its value against the U.S. dollar this year.

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