7 Feb 2011

Pound lower in Egypt

10:17 am on 7 February 2011

The Egyptian pound opened weaker against the US dollar when banks opened again on Sunday.

The currency was trading at about 5.90 to the dollar, slightly below the 5.8550 before banks were closed a week ago.

"I am confident that the market will be orderly," central bank governor Farouk el-Okdah said late on Saturday.

The BBC reports there have been long queues at ATM machines for the past week as people sought to withdraw their money while the banks were closed.

President Hosni Mubarak held talks on Saturday with ministers to try to get the economy moving.

However, the stock market remains closed. It is down by about 20% since the beginning of the year.

Trade Minister Samiha Fawzi Ibrahim has said exports were down 6% in January and extra food was being provided to try to stabilise prices and curb shortages.

Many factories in the major cities remain shut. Many shops have also been closed.

Vice-President Omar Suleiman said last week that one million foreign tourists had fled the country over the previous nine days, at a cost of $US1 billion in lost revenues for the country. Tourism accounts for 6% of GDP in Egypt.

Credit Agricole Bank said on Friday the protests were costing the country at least $US310 million per day.