Egyptian pound steady at dollar sale, stronger at parallel market
The Egyptian pound - YOUM7 (Archive)

CAIRO: The Egyptian pound was stable at a dollar sale on Sunday, with the central bank selling $40 million at a cut-off price of 7.9301 pounds per dollar, while the currency strengthened on the parallel market.

The official cut-off price was unchanged from Thursday’sdollar sale, but one trader said the dollar changed hands at8.50 pounds in the parallel market on Sunday, compared with 8.52 pounds on Thursday. Egypt announced last month that Hesham Ramez would be replaced as central bank governor this month by senior bankerTarek Amer.

The move was welcomed by traders, who expect a newapproach to the country’s currency crisis. Cairo has sought to tame a once-thriving currency blackmarket with measures such as a cap on dollar-denominated bankdeposits. The central bank gave permission in January to trade dollarsup to 0.10 pounds above or below the official rate, withcurrency exchange bureaux allowed to trade at 0.15 pounds aboveor below the official rate.

The central bank kept the pound at 7.5301 for fivemonths until July, then allowed it to slide to 7.7301. In October, it let it weaken by another 0.20 pounds to 7.9301. Allowing a controlled weakening of the pound could boostexports and attract further investment, but it would also raiseEgypt’s already large bill for imported fuel and food staples.

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