Egypt has received a proposal from the Cairo-based African export-import bank (Afreximbank) to arrange a facility of up to $1 billion, underwriting $500 million of the amount, for the country’s central bank to improve foreign currency liquidity, Afreximbank stated on its official website.
If the is welcomed by the central bank’s recently appointed governor Tarek Amer, the Afreximbank will operate the facility through either trade finance lines of credit to key state-owned commercial banks, or it would fund the CBE with US dollars in exchange for an equivalent amount of Egyptian pounds, according to Benedict Oramah, the head of Afreximbank.
Egypt, which is heavily dependent on imports for food and energy, has been trying since 2013 to protect its local pound from devaluation through setting the rate against the U.S dollar in regular FX auctions. On Sunday, CBE sold 37.6 million pounds at a cut off price of 7.7301 to the dollar.
Egypt's foreign exchange reserves are currently at about $16.4 billion - enough to cover just three months of imports, down from $36 billion before the ouster of the country’s long-time president Hosni Mubarak in 2011.