CAIRO Dec 23 The Egyptian pound weakened at a
foreign exchange auction on Monday, sliding for the third time
in a row at the central bank's regular dollar sale as it
continued to trade weaker on the black market.
The central bank sold $38.6 million to banks at Monday's
auction, with a cutoff price of 6.9075 pounds to the dollar,
weaker than the 6.8972 at the previous sale on Thursday. It had
offered up to $40 million.
Last week, the pound weakened against the dollar for the
first time since July, when the army removed Islamist President
Mohamed Mursi after mass protests against his rule.
On the black market, a market participant said the dollar
was offered for 7.45 pounds in comparison to 7.42 pounds in the
black market on Thursday.
The central bank introduced dollar currency sales a year ago
to help counter a run on the pound. It has burned through at
least $20 billion - or roughly half its reserves - supporting
the currency since Egypt's 2011 revolution, which cut into
tourism revenues and foreign investment.
The central bank has limited Egyptians from transferring
more than a cumulative $100,000 out of the country since the
2011 uprising unless they can demonstrate a pressing need for
the funds. In January, this limit will be raised by another
$100,000, Central Bank governor Hisham Ramez said this month.
Depositors at banks can only withdraw a maximum of $10,000
in foreign currency per day under central bank rules, but in
practice many banks restrict such withdrawals to much less and
demand documents to show why the client needs the funds.