Three-month freeze imposed on Egyptian state imports
The cash-strapped Egyptian government imposed a three-month restriction on all state imports, excluding “food and products of a strategic nature,” Prime Minister Atef Obeid tolds Al-Akhbar.
Earlier this week, state sugar buyer SIIC (Sugar Integrated Industries Company) withdrew a 60,000-ton tender because “prices were too high compared to the price of sugar on the local market.” Pharmaceutical importers have stopped their operations as well, due to a 50 percent price rise after the floatation of the Egyptian Pound, reported Al-Alam Al-Yaum.
At the end of January 2003, Egyptian monetary authorities adopted a floating currency regime, in a bid to introduce structural reforms, promote economic efficiency and stimulate trade and investment in the country. Since abandoning the ‘managed peg’ system, the Egyptian pound plunged 20 percent, against the US dollar and the euro.
Other recent measures include fixing the price of 15 basic food products—such as sugar, oil, rice and flour—as well as a $10,000 daily limit imposed on hard currency withdrawals from state-owned bank deposits. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)