The Egyptian pound was steady at official rates on Thursday, the central bank said, and slightly stronger in the black market, two sources said – a day after the bank’s governor said that parallel market for dollars would “not last long”.
The central bank sold $38.4 million at its regular foreign exchange auction on Thursday, with a cut-off price of 6.8771 pounds to the dollar – fractionally stronger than 6.8772 at the last such auction on Wednesday.
On the black market, the pound strengthened slightly from Wednesday’s levels, according to the two market sources.
One said the pound was trading at 7.30/32 to the dollar. Another put it at 7.27/33. On Wednesday, two market sources said the pound had weakened to 7.30/34.
Businesses have turned to the black market to meet their dollar needs as supplies of hard currency have dried up at official rates. The pound has been trading near its current level of 6.89 since early September at official rates.
The central bank introduced dollar sales last December to help counter a run on the pound.
It has burned through at least $20 billion – or roughly half – of its reserves since a 2011 revolt that led to the overthrow of long-time President Hosni Mubarak. Political turmoil since then has hammered investment and the tourism sector, once major sources of foreign currency.
Central Bank Governor Hisham Ramez said on Wednesday about the black market for hard currency: “I promise it will not last long.” He did not say what, if any, action the government planned to take