30 December 2012

Egypt: Pound Hits Record Low Under New Currency Regime

Cairo — The Egyptian pound hit a record low on Sunday of about 6.30 to the dollar after the central bank introduced a new currency regime, bankers said.

The central bank sold the U.S. currency at a cut-off price of 6.2425. The Egyptian pound, which traded at 6.1858 a dollar on Dec. 28, weakened 1.8 percent to 6.3041 to the dollar as of 3:53 p.m. in Cairo, National Bank of Egypt prices on Bloomberg show. The measure was introduced after foreign-currency reserves dropped to $15 billion, or enough to cover about three months of imports, a level the regulator said Saturday was "critical." The previous low for the pound, in October 2004, was about 6.26 to the dollar.

The auction came as Prime Minister Hisham Qandil said the country aimed to resume talks with the International Monetary Fund next month on a $4.8 billion loan, reviving an effort officials say is sorely needed to boost an economy battered by unrest since Mubark was ousted almost two years ago.

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