Egypt’s Banque Misr in talks for 300 mln euro syndicated loan

Egypt's second-largest state bank, Banque Misr, is in talks with a foreign financial institution for a 300 million euro (US$334.92 million) syndicated loan to shore up its foreign currency resources, Banque Misr said on Monday.

Egypt is experiencing a foreign currency crisis and its central bank has been rationing dollars through auctions with commercial banks, giving priority to imports of strategic goods. It sells around $120 million a week.

"The negotiations come within the framework of increasing hard currency resources at the bank. The negotiations are due to be complete six months from now, at most," Bank Misr Chairman Mohamed Mahmoud Eletreby said, without naming the bank involved in the negotiations.

Egypt's reserves fell to around $16.5 billion in February, from about $36 billion before an uprising in 2011 that drove away tourists and foreign investors, major sources of hard currency.

In an attempt to increase their dollar resources, Egypt's three state banks, Banque Misr and the National Bank of Egypt and Banque du Caire began offering in February dollar denominated certificates of deposits with attractive yields to Egyptians living abroad.

NBE and Banque Misr also started offering this month Egyptian pound certificates of deposits with an interest rate of 15 percent in exchange for foreign currency.

($1 = 0.8957 euros)

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