Egypt's central bank backs local products, tightens importing measures
Ahram Online, , Tuesday 22 Dec 2015

The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) stated on Tuesday that it will require importers to provide 100 percent cash deposits at banks on their letters of credit up from the current 50 percent in an attempt to boost domestic products against foreign competition.

The move, which will come into effect in January, aims to limit imports of products with domestic alternatives in order to shore up limited resources for foreign currency, according to state press agency MENA.

Imports ofmedicines, input materials for pharmaceuticals and babies' milk are excluded from the decision.

The CBE recentlyprovided around $7.6 billion for the import of basic commodities, raw materials and foreign backlog, said MENA.

Egypt faces a foreign currency crunch which took its toll on imports of raw material needed by industries and pressured the Egyptian pound.

The CBE will repay Qatar a $1 billion for a matured deposit in January 2016 on time as well as a $700 million instalment to the Paris Club, MENA said, citing a bank source.

Foreign currency reserves stood at $16.422 billion at the end of November.