UPDATE 1-Egypt foreign reserves fall by $84 mln in September

(Adds economist, trader comments)

CAIRO, Oct 8 (Reuters) - Egypt's foreign reserves fell by$84 million in September but held above the $15 billion seen asnecessary to shore up the pound for a third straight month afterforeign donors began fulfilling promises of aid.

With the reserves still close to danger level, economistscautioned against reading too much into the latest number untilit was clear whether it included disbursements of foreign aid.But one said Egypt had adequate reserves till the year-end.

Government efforts to secure a $4.8 billion InternationalMonetary Fund loan to support the struggling economy have cutEgypt's borrowing costs in recent weeks although a planned visitto Cairo by an IMF team has been delayed until late October.

Net international reserves fell to $15.04 billion at the endof September from $15.13 billion at the end of August, theCentral Bank of Egypt (CBE) said on its website.

Reserves have plunged by more than half since a popularuprising in January 2011 scared away tourists and investors, twoof Egypt's main sources of foreign currency.

Since February, they have hovered near $15 billion, a levelseen as a minimum to avoid a crisis of confidence in the localcurrency the Egyptian pound.

They would have fallen further without aid from countriessuch as Saudi Arabia and Qatar, disbursed since Egypt's newpresident took office in late June.

"With the political scene normalising and aid starting toflow, these reserves numbers leave (the central bank) lookingpretty well placed to manage the downward pressure on thecurrency over the rest of the year," said Simon Williams,Dubai-based economist for HSBC.

But he added: "It's hard to read the numbers until its clearif any of the recent aid pledges and disbursements are capturedin the data."

Foreign investors began to increase holdings of Egyptiantreasury bills in June for the first time since the uprising.

But many are still wary of a sharp fall in the pound thatwould damage the beleaguered economy and are waiting to see ifEgypt will seal the $4.8 billion IMF loan.

"The fall is disappointing. However, reserves are stillaround the critical three months of import cover and the aidthat has materialized in October should increase the comingmonth's figure," said a Cairo-based fixed income analyst.

Like others, he said he wanted to see a breakdown todetermine whether any extra aid was included in the Septemberfigure which could mask a bigger drop.

(Reporting By Tamim Elyan and Edmund Blair; Writing by TomPfeiffer; Editing by Catherine Evans)

((tamim.elyan@thomsonreuters.com)(+20 2 2578 3290))