Egypt has asked the International Monetary Fund for a loan of $US4.8 billion to help revive its economy.
The request was made during talks in Cairo between President Mohammed Mursi and IMF managing director Christine Lagarde on Wednesday.
Ms Lagarde said the IMF would respond quickly. Prime Minister Hisham Qandil said he hoped a deal could be finalised before the end of the year.
It is needed to cover budget deficits resulting from shrinking tourism and foreign investment revenues.
The BBC reports Egypt's foreign reserves are well under half the levels seen before last year's uprising against former President Hosni Mubarak. The government is facing a balance-of-payments crisis and high borrowing costs.
Egypt has internal debt of $US193 billion and foreign debt of $US33.8 billion.