Egypt allows foreign investors access to scarce dollars

18 Mar 2013

(MENAFN) In its efforts to attract investments for its ballooning budget shortfall, Egypt is granting foreign investors in its financial markets access to dollars despite a hard currency shortage, Reuters reported.

The central bank said it was restarting a mechanism helping foreign investors to repatriate their funds.

The central bank said in a statement that the “Foreign Investors’ Repatriation Mechanism” that was last used in 2000/2003, a period of dollar shortages when the Egyptian pound’s value fell sharply, would also cover treasury bills and bonds.

The mechanism requires foreign currency inflows through commercial banks be sold to the central bank and ring-fenced in the Foreign Investment Fund. When investors sell their Egyptian assets, they can then withdraw the sum in dollars from the Fund.

Egypt’s foreign currency reserves have fallen to critical level of USD13.5 billion at the end of February from USD36 billion just before the uprising that ousted President Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

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