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On Wednesday, the Central Bank of Egypt conducted an US$800 million exceptional auction, its second in the last two months, to meet banks' demands for the currency they need to purchase staple commodities.
CBE Governor Hisham Ramez told Al-Masry Al-Youm that this latest auction seeks to secure funds for the purchase of basic commodities, especially with the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan approaching.
Ramez said he is unofficially attempting to contain black market and currency dealers in order to affect the market and inflation rates in a positive way. “The gap between prices in the official and unofficial markets has narrowed, and will soon be negligible,” Ramez stated, adding that the targeted commodities include foodstuff, spare parts, raw materials, medicines and related chemicals.
Egypt has seen its international currency reserves dwindle since a popular revolution ousted former leader Hosni Mubarak.
Last month, the currency reserves increased slightly to almost US$14 billion, which was widely attributed to a US$2 billion loan Egypt obtained from Libya.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm