(Bloomberg) -- Egypt’s net international reserves climbed slightly in November, as the North African country awaits the final approval of an International Monetary Fund loan key to shoring up the economy.

The figure reached $33.5 billion, compared with $33.4 billion at the end of October, the central bank said Tuesday. 

Three major declines in Egypt’s reserves earlier this year have starkly illustrated the economic impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on the Arab world’s most populous nation. 

The IMF and Egypt reached a staff-level agreement in October on a $3 billion program, and the executive board is set to hold a meeting on the extended fund facility on Dec. 16. A nod from the Washington-based lender would unlock further large-scale financing from abroad.

Egypt’s Gulf allies have already pledged more than $20 billion in deposits and investments for the country that’s dealing with a surge in fuel and food import bills and an exodus of portfolio investment. Saudi Arabia announced last week that it had extended the maturity of a $5 billion deposit.

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More funding would ease pressure on Egypt’s pound, which has already seen two dramatic falls this year, in March and late October. The central bank said it has adopted a more flexible foreign-exchange regime.

Further challenges are to come, with authorities planning to remove by the end of this month a requirement for importers to acquire letters of credit to buy some goods from abroad. Egypt also needs to clear a backlog of requests from importers and companies seeking hard currency estimated at over $5 billion.

--With assistance from Tarek El-Tablawy.

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