Egypt cbank offers $50m at auction
Cairo, February 6, 2013
Egypt's central bank will offer $50 million to banks on Wednesday at its 18th auction of foreign exchange as well as another, previously unscheduled auction on Thursday.
The bank introduced the system of regular auctions of US dollars late last year as part of moves to prevent an outright currency crisis prompted by the economic fallout of two years of violence and political unrest.
The central bank had said it would hold auctions on Monday and Wednesday this week in a statement widely taken to mean that it would cut the frequency of auctions to two per week from three.
But in a brief statement on Wednesday, the central bank said it would hold another auction on Thursday. It did not say how much it would offer at that sale.
This week's changes coincide with arrival in office of new central bank governor Hisham Ramez.
The central bank offered $75 million at Monday's auction, accepting bids for $73.1 million.
It added that the maximum value of the three bids each bank is allowed to submit at Wednesday's auction could not be more than $7 million.
Two traders say the announcement of the third auction on Thursday came as a surprise.
Egypt's pound is down more than 8 per cent since the launch of the auctions in late December. Egypt's foreign currency reserves have more than halved in that time to the equivalent of less than $15 billion. – Reuters