CAIRO Aug 21 The Egyptian pound was
stable on the black market on Wednesday while its official price
edged higher after the central bank sold foreign currency.
The central bank has been in a stronger position to support
the pound since Gulf Arab countries topped up its foreign
reserves with $5 billion in deposits after the army deposed
Islamist President Mohamed Mursi on July 3.
A crackdown on Mursi's supporters last week, when at least
900 people were killed, stopped the pound strengthening on the
black market, whereas the pound's official price, controlled by
the bank, has been appreciating slowly since Mursi's overthrow.
Traders say the central bank is ensuring the pound
strengthens to give the impression the economy is stable and
improving despite the turmoil.
Importers have had to turn increasingly to the black market
as the government restricts its limited foreign currency to
imports of essential commodities.
The central bank sold $37.6 million and the cut-off price
rose to 6.9773 Egyptian pounds per dollar from 6.9780 at the
last auction on Monday, the central bank said. The cut-off price
on July 3 was 7.0184.
The bank had offered $40 million.
One black market dealer said he was offering to buy dollars
for 7.10 Egyptian pounds and sell them for 7.15 pounds.
At Monday's auction the dealer had quoted 7.10/7.13 pounds.
The central bank introduced currency sales, held three times
a week, at the end of December to help stave off a currency
crisis and thwart a run on the pound.
Since then, the central bank has allowed the currency to
lose more than 11 percent of its value on the official market.
The currency's value has been under pressure since the 2011
popular uprising chased away tourists and foreign investors.