Central Bank of Egypt's headquarters is seen in downtown Cairo, Egypt March 8, 2016 (Reuters)
The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) revoked on Wednesday the operating licences of nine foreign exchange bureaus after they were proven to have repeatedly manipulated and speculated on the price of the US dollar in the country’s parallel currency market, state news agency MENA reported, citing the bank’s deputy Gamal Negm.
The CBE’s decision coincided with reports from local and international media outlet saying that the pound dropped to around 11.3 against the dollar on the black market, though the official rate remains stable at 8.78.
CBE governor Tarek Amer denied on Wednesday any intention of officially devaluing the pound, blaming the “exaggerated” and “unjustified” rise in the exchange rate on speculation.
According to Negm, sanctions against currency exchange bureaus that commit violations may include jail time once a new CBE law is drafted.
In February, the CBE revoked the licences of four exchange bureaus operating 27 offices.
Egypt's foreign currency reserves stood at $16.5 billion in March, less than half of the $36 billion it registered before the 2011 uprising, which was followed by political and security unrest that spooked investors and tourists, the main sources of foreign currency.