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Egypt's President Sisi pledges to supply more staples for poor amid dollar price instability

Ahram Online , Sunday 24 Apr 2016
Egypt
Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi (Reuters)
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Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi commissioned on Sunday the government to increase subsidised basic commodity supplies into local markets to compensate low-income earners for food price hikes that were caused by the fluctuating US dollar price in recent months.

During his televised speech a day ahead of Egypt’s Sinai Liberation Day, which falls on 25 April, El-Sisi also assigned the armed forces to distribute two million staples in low-income areas nationwide.

The US dollar’s rate saw a decline on the black market to be sold at EGP 10.85 against an official rate of EGP 8.78, state news website Al-Ahram reported on Sunday citing anonymous traders.

The price of the greenback has been slowing since the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) revoked the operating licenses last week of nine foreign exchange bureaus who were proven to have repeatedly manipulated and speculated on the dollar, driving it up to a record price of EGP 11.50.

Egypt, which relies heavily on imports of wheat and other staples to feed its population of 90 million, saw its pound drop by over 14 percent of its value against the dollar last month.

The CBE raised interest rates by 1.5 percentage points days after the devaluation to combat inflation, and the country’s annual headline inflation eased for the third consecutive month to 9.2 percent in March 2016.

However, the monthly consumer price index rose by 1.4 percent in March as some food commodities saw price increases such as rice, meat, poultry, vegetables, fruits as well as pharmaceuticals, according to official figures released earlier this month.  

 

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