Egyptian pound steady at official forex sale and on black market

The Egyptian pound held steady at an official foreign currency auction on Tuesday and was unchanged on the black market.
Egypt, which depends on imported food and energy, is facing a dollar shortage and mounting pressure to devalue the pound.
It sold $39.4 million at a cut-off price of LE7.730 to the dollar, unchanged from Sunday. The official rate is still far stronger than the black market rate, which was around LE8.58 to the dollar on Tuesday, also unchanged from Sunday.
The central bank surprised markets when it strengthened the pound on Nov. 11 by 20 piasters against the dollar, despite pressure to move the other way and dwindling forex reserves with which to defend the currency at artificially strong levels.
Egypt's reserves have tumbled from $36 billion in 2011 to $16.4 billion in October, and the country has been rationing dollars through weekly dollar auctions to banks.
The country has been starved of foreign currency since a popular uprising in 2011 ousted autocrat Hosni Mubarak and drove tourists and foreign investors away.
In February, the central bank imposed capital controls, limiting dollar-denominated deposits to $50,000 a month in an attempt to fight the black market. The move caused problems for importers, who could no longer source foreign currency to clear goods that piled up at ports. 

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