* Ramez to take up reins as country's currency tumbles
* Appointment must be approved by upper house of parliament
* Praised for his handling of post-uprising financial tumult
CAIRO, Jan 10 Egypt's newly named central bank
chief sought to reassure investors on Thursday there was no need
to be worried about the situation on the Egyptian currency
market, saying the bank had "all the tools" to intervene if it
Hisham Ramez will be taking the reins in the midst of
Egypt's most acute financial crisis since the uprising that
pushed Hosni Mubarak out of the presidency in early 2011.
An surge of political unrest in November sent Egyptians
rushing to buy dollars for the Egyptian pound out of fear
that the pound would tumble or the government would put capital
controls in place.
Reserves have fallen by $21 billion in the two years since
Egypt's popular uprising to $15 billion, equal to less than
three months of imports.
The central bank, saying the country's foreign reserves had
reached a "minimum and critical limit", announced a new currency
system on Dec. 29 to stabilise the pound. Since then the pound
has fallen to record lows.
"The matter is not out of control. On the contrary, at any
time we can control it," Ramez told reporters shortly after
President Mohamed Mursi named him as the new governor.
"The central bank has all the tools to enable it to
intervene at anytime it feels there is speculation or anything
against the market."
Ramez, who worked as deputy central banker during the
financial turbulence of Egypt's uprising in early 2011, is
expected to assume his duties on Feb. 3 after Mursi accepted the
resignation of his predecessor, Farouk el-Okdah, the presidency
said in a statement.
A veteran banker, Ramez won praise from economists for his
deft handling of the financial turmoil in the weeks after the
uprising, when billions of dollars of fled the country and the
currency came under enormous pressure.
Far more than Okdah, who rarely appears before the media,
Ramez took on a public role during the troubles, often acting as
the central bank's mouthpiece.
Ramez's appointment has to be approved by the upper house of
parliament, which holds legislative powers until Egypt votes for
a permanent new lower house in an election expected in the next
The upper house is dominated by Mursi's Islamist supporters.
Egypt's currency continued its slide on Thursday, with the
central bank allowing it to weaken by about half a percentage
point per day. It has lost 5.5 percent in the last two weeks.
"We are looking at prices constantly," Ramez told reporters.
"The situation is not out of control. There is no cause for
concern. What concerns the central bank is that the market is
normal and balanced. As the price rises it also falls. Supply
and demand ... are what are necessary."
Ramez has been a banker for three decades, joining Bank of
America in Bahrain in 1982 in its foreign exchange and money
market division before moving in 1988 to Arab Banking
Corporation as vice president.
In 1996 he returned to Egypt to run two medium-sized banks,
Egyptian Gulf Bank and then, from 2006, Suez Canal
Bank. In 2007 he moved to the central bank, where he worked as a
board member and deputy governor until 2011.
Since December 2011 he has been vice chairman of Egypt's
biggest publicly traded bank, Commercial International Bank