Egyptian bankers expect the value of the Egyptian pound to stabilize during 2001, despite an expected increase in demand for foreign currency needed to repay foreign liabilities, reported Al-Watan.
In part, the solid Egyptian pound is the result of a conservative monetary policy followed by the Egyptian Central Bank, which maintained a discount ratio of about 12 percent per annum last year. However, the country’s commercial banks are expected to raise their interest and commission rates because of prolonged rises in treasury bills interest rates.
In December, the Central Bank of Egypt reported that liquidity reached LE 262.2 billion at the end of the third quarter of 2000, 9.7 percent more than the LE 239 billion at the end of September 1999. Non-governmental deposits amounted to LE 227.2 billion at the end of third quarter, compared to LE 207.6 billion in September 1999. Foreign debt at the end of the third quarter equaled $26.8 billion compared to $ 28.5 billion in September 1999.
In October 2000, the Egyptian Central Bank dropped most of its foreign currency regulations, with the bank’s governor, Ismail Hassan, telling journalists that the country’s commercial banks would not be given the green light to provide all the requirements of individuals and investors of foreign currency without any restrictions or conditions. The government described the liberalization as being in line with a general reform program launched in the early 1990s. – (Albawaba-MEBG)
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )