Egyptians count money at a currency exchange office in downtown Cairo (Photo: AP)
The Egyptian pound was held steady by the central bank at a dollar sale on Thursday, as it sold $37.8 million at a cut-off price of 7.7301 pounds per dollar, but strengthened on the parallel market.
The official cut-off price remained unchanged from Tuesday's dollar sale but one trader said the dollar changed hands at 8.03 pounds in the parallel market while another said it changed hands at 7.95 pounds, compared with 8.05 pounds to the dollar on Tuesday.
Egypt has sought to tame a once-thriving currency black market with measures such as a cap on dollar-denominated bank deposits.
The central bank gave permission in January to trade dollars up to 0.10 pounds above or below the official rate, with currency exchange bureaux allowed to trade at 0.15 pounds above or below the official rate.
The central bank had kept the pound at 7.5301 for five months until July, when it was allowed to slide to 7.6301. On July 5, the bank let it slip a further 0.10 pounds.
Allowing the pound to weaken in a controlled way could boost exports and attract further investment, but it also raises Egypt's already large bill for imported fuel and food staples.