CAIRO: The Egyptian pound held steady at an official foreign currency auction on Thursday and on the black market.
Egypt, which depends on imported food and energy, is facing a dollar shortage and mounting pressure to devalue the pound.
It sold $39.4 million at a cut-off price of 7.7301 pounds to the dollar, unchanged from Tuesday. The official rate is still far stronger than the black market rate, which was around 8.57 pounds to the dollar on Thursday, almost unchanged from Tuesday’s 8.58 pounds, two traders said.
Egypt’s reserves have tumbled from $36 billion in 2011 to $16.4 billion in October, and the country has been rationing dollars through weekly dollar auctions to banks.
The country has been starved of foreign currency since a popular uprising in 2011 ousted autocrat Hosni Mubarak and drove tourists and foreign investors away.
In February, the central bank imposed capital controls, limiting dollar-denominated deposits to $50,000 a month in an attempt to fight the black market.
The move caused problems for importers who could no longer source foreign currency to clear goods that piled up at ports.