Egypt's Amer Says Dollar Crunch Temporary, Denies IMF Approach

  • Senior government official said Egypt plans IMF loan talks
  • Central bank eased curbs on dollar deposits, withdrawals

Egypt’s foreign-currency crunch is temporary, the country’s central bank chief said in remarks published on Thursday. He denied plans to start loan talks with the International Monetary Fund.

Egypt is capable of “overcoming the current crisis and previous experiences prove that rumors and exaggerations don’t have economic foundations,” Tarek Amer told the Cairo-based Al-Shorouk newspaper.

Tarek Amer

Photographer: Shawn Baldwin/Bloomberg

Foreign currency inflows have slowed over the past year as Egypt’s Gulf Arab allies reduced aid amid tumbling oil prices and as the country’s tourism industry slowed after the crash of a Russian passenger plane over Sinai.

Amer spoke after the central bank this week eased restrictions on foreign currency deposits and withdrawals in banks, a move seen by analysts as an attempt to boost the supply of dollars. Some economists, including Hany Genena of Beltone Financial, said the decision is also a precursor to a currency devaluation.

A senior government official told Bloomberg News on Wednesday that the country plans to approach the International Monetary Fund for loan talks. Amer, Egypt’s representative at the Washington-based lender, denied the plan.

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