Egypt pound reaches record lows amid dollar shortage
A man walks past an exchange bureau advertisement showing images of the U.S dollar in Cairo, Egypt, February 21, 2016. REUTERS

CAIRO: The Egyptian pound has dropped to record lows in the past week in the black market, hovering between 9 and 9.25 per dollar, as importers struggle to find dollars for their operations and pressure mounts on the central bank to devalue the pound.

A banking source also said the central bank has this week directed local banks to prioritize giving dollars to pharmaceutical companies to import medicine and supplies.

“They have been delayed for a while, like everyone else is, but they definitely should have the priority,” said Hany Farahat, a senior economist at CI Capital in Egypt.

Net international reserves have remained around $16.5 billion in recent months, following declines from $36 billion in December 2010, a month before the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

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