CAIRO: The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) along with local banks have provided around $15 billion for imports over the past four months, CBE’s Governor Hisham Ramez said Monday, vowing not to revoke a $10,000 daily ceiling for cash deposits in hard currency.
The bank’s latest procedures against the black market on dollars, including local currency’s 10 consecutive depreciations against the dollar officially, resulted with a unified dollar exchange rate at official and parallel channels.
Meanwhile, some investors complained of hard currency shortfall as the CBE focused on providing liquidity for a priority list goods.
“The CBE is an independent and neutral body and has no political orientation. The bank makes its decisions in accordance with macroeconomic interest,” Ramez said in an interview with Radio Misr station.
He added that Egypt’s foreign reserves slipped sharply during the past four years due to security unrest that forced the CBE to take several procedures with the aim of re-building Egypt’s economy.
Ramez stated the decision to impose a $10,000 daily ceiling for cash deposits in hard currency for both individuals and companies in February, followed a “deliberate study aimed to wipe out dollar black market.”
The deposit ceiling complies with international standards, said Ramez, adding that it will not be revoked in the current period. He noted that the CBE sold $800 million at regular FX auctions last week, to cover pending backlog for the import of raw materials, production requirements and spare parts and food commodities.
The International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Director of the Middle East and Central Asia Department Masoud Ahmed, welcomed Egypt’s Central Bank procedures to address the parallel market.
“They are welcome because they do try to bring about a reduction of any differentials between the parallel market and the official market,” Masoud said during a press briefing on the sidelines of the World Bank Group and IMF 2015 annual spring meetings in Washington, D.C in April.
Having a unified market “would help to create the basis for more investment, and better functioning of the exchange markets, and as a result encourage investment and growth,” he added.