1 Jan 2013

Egyptian pound falling

6:27 am on 1 January 2013

The Egyptian pound has fallen further against the US dollar, despite efforts to halt its slide on the

money markets.

The decline came as the Central Bank held the second in a series of currency auctions.

The bank sold $US74.8 million at a cut-off price of 6.3050 Egyptian pounds to the dollar, less than the equivalent price of 6.2425 in the first auction on Sunday.

The auctions are aimed at rationing the availability of dollars, as a step towards allowing the Egyptian pound to float freely.

In other measures, the Central Bank has also said corporate clients cannot withdraw more than $US30,000 in cash per day and announced it will charge individuals who buy foreign currencies an administrative fee of 1% - 2%.

Egypt is grappling with a crippling budget deficit and dwindling foreign reserves.

The BBC reports the Central Bank has spent more than $US20 billion of foreign reserves to support the pound since former President Hosni Mubarak was deposed in February 2011.

President Mohammed Mursi said on Sunday that the currency's fall in value did not scare the government and that the situation would stabilise "within days".

Also on Sunday, Prime Minister Hisham Qandil said Egypt would soon resume talks with the International Monetary Fund over a loan of $US4.8 billion to shore up the economy.

The talks were suspended because of political turmoil over a new constitution, which has been approved by a referendum.