The Central Bank of Yemen’s foreign currency reserves fell 2 per cent between September and October 2009, leaving the bank’s ability to buy foreign imports at a record low.

According to a bank report issued on 20 December, foreign assets totalled $7.02bn in October, down from $7.18bn in September. With such low currency reserves, the bank could only cover 8.2 months of imports, a record low that has occurred in August 2009.

Yemen has struggled to cope with a cash crisis caused by falling oil revenues and an import-dependent economy.

The government’s income from oil, which accounted for 70 per cent of overall revenues in 2008, was $237.8m in October, up from revenues of $213m in September. Revenues climbed due to higher oil prices and slightly higher production.

The government’s share of oil exports was 3.46 million barrels in October at an average price of $70.80 a barrel, compared with the 3.1 million barrels it sold in September at an average price of $68.70 a barrel.

The government earned $1.47bn from oil exports in the first 10 months of 2009, compared with the $4.15bn it made in the same period of 2008.