International Reserves (IR) stood at USD 9,353 million on January 20, 2023, reaching its highest level since the start of dollarization. This high level of reserves allows covering 100% of the liabilities of the first and second balance system of the Central Bank of Ecuador, and 32% of the third. In other words, the ECB can currently cover with liquid assets all the deposits held by public and private financial entities at the Central Bank.
During the most critical moment of the COVID-19 pandemic, IRs registered levels of less than USD 2,000 million, covering only 75% of the deposits of the first system at that time.
Likewise, the net value of transfers abroad made by the private sector (households and companies) in 2022 was lower than pre-pandemic levels, with the exception of 2015 and 2016 when safeguards were implemented, which made raw materials more expensive and imported goods for the productive sector and Ecuadorian families. In 2022, the net value of foreign transfers made by households and companies was USD -1,289 million.
In 2022, for the first time since 2014, the difference between cash deposits and withdrawals from the vaults of the Central Bank of Ecuador by the institutions of the national financial system had a positive flow of USD 225 million. This reflects lower demand for cash at the national level. This behavior is also consistent with the increase in the number of operations through digital payment methods, which multiplied by 7 between 2019 and 2022.
Regarding public sector flows, as a result of lower external financing needs, the Ecuadorian State required significantly lower disbursements than in the years prior to the pandemic. In this way, the Government received USD 4,546 million from international creditors in 2022.
In addition, it is important to highlight that the external debt service, which includes amortization of principal and interest, decreased significantly after the sovereign debt restructuring in 2020 and the renegotiation of the debt with the People’s Republic of China in 2022. Thus, the external debt service stood at USD 3,589 million in 2022, an amount significantly lower than that paid between 2017 and 2019.
The behavior of the flows in the public and private sectors allowed reaching a historical level of International Reserves, which fostered the confidence of private financial entities and the recovery of credit by 17%  on a national scale in 2022.
From the Central Bank of Ecuador we consider that the current level of International Reserves consolidates dollarization, guarantees foreign operations of the public and private sectors, strengthens the confidence of depositors, financial institutions and investors and promotes credit in our country.