(Corrects Tuesday's black market rate in paragraph 7 to
7.52/54, not 7.49/52)
CAIRO May 14 Egypt's central bank will hold an
exceptional foreign currency auction for $1.1 billion on
Wednesday to raise funds to cover its food import needs, it said
in an emailed statement.
Egypt has been suffering from a sustained dollar shortage as
political turmoil following the 2011 uprising against veteran
leader Hosni Mubarak unnerved foreign investors and tourists,
traditionally major sources of foreign currency.
"This auction is intended to cover and clear all pending
food backlogs to secure availability of staple food commodities
over the coming period," the bank said in the statement.
Wednesday's auction is significantly larger than the $40
million foreign currency sale Egypt holds three times a week.
At its last exceptional dollar auction on Jan 27 the central
bank sold $1.5 billion at a cut-off price of 6.9518 Egyptian
The Egyptian pound has been dropping for the last 10 sales
as the central bank allows it to weaken. It has been hitting
successive lows. At its last auction on Monday the cut-off price
was 7.0451 pounds.
On the black market, the dollar traded at around 7.49/52 on
Wednesday, slightly stronger than Tuesday's rate of 7.52/54, a
The bank introduced regular dollar sales in December 2012 to
counter a run on the pound.
The rates banks are allowed to trade dollars at are
determined by the results of the central bank sales, giving the
bank effective control over official exchange rates.
(Reporting By Shadia Nasralla; Editing by Gareth Jones)