An employee counts U.S. dollars in a foreign exchange office in central Cairo, Egypt (Reuters)
The Egyptian pound average exchange rate closed at EGP 17.9 against the US dollar in Egypt's Banks on Wednesday, the lowest since the national currency was freely floated earlier this month, according to the websites of four major local lenders.
The rate of USD sold at EGP 18.1 in Egypt's central bank, and EGP 17.9 at Egypt's largest private lender CIB Egypt's and the two largest public lenders National Bank of Egypt and Banque Misr.
Since Egypt's central bank decided to freely float the pound on 3 November, the rate of the greenback hovered around an average rate of EGP 16-17.
The dollar was officially sold at 8.78 EGP prior to the flotation.
The CBE decision to freely float the national currency - as well as raise key interest rates - is part of the government's economic reform plan to alleviate a severe dollar shortage and stabilise the country's flagging economy.
In mid-November, the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) received an initial $2.75 billion from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as part of a $12 billion loan to boost the country's foreign.
Egypt relies heavily on imports, mostly food, and has been suffering from an acute foreign currency shortage since the 2011 uprising which was followed by political and security unrest.
The country's foreign reserves currently stands at $19.04 billion.