Banks operating in the Egyptian market began providing hard cash to import non-essential goods on Sunday, having secured some $2.5bn to cover essential goods imports in 13 days.
Bankers working in international transactions, in a private bank and a foreign bank, told Daily News Egypt that the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) gave verbal instructions to banks on Thursday night to provide 50% of their surplus hard cash to cover imports of non-essential goods.
Since liberating the exchange rate on 3 November, banks have been trading the surplus on the inter bank market.
Banks had earlier stopped covering imports of non-essential goods due to a shortage in foreign currency and a lack of resources.
Since the liberalisation of the exchange rate until the end of work days on Thursday, banks have collected some $3bn from clients who exchanged their US dollars for Egyptian pounds, both in the form of cash and converting deposits denominated in US dollars to invest in the high-interest saving vessels launched by banks after the flotation decision.
The CBE revealed on Thursday that Egyptian banks have secured the financing required to import food commodities, intermediate goods, production supplies of medicines, and vaccines worth $2.492bn since the decision to float the pound on 3 November and until 15 November.
In a press release last week, the CBE added that banks are financing food commodity imports, excluding goods imported by the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC), worth $414.652m, as well as imports of machinery, production equipment, and spare parts worth $201.934m.
An amount of $1.459bn was allocated for the import of intermediary goods, raw materials, and production supplies, while $97.646m were allocated for the import of medicines, vaccines, and chemicals.
According to the CBE, Egyptian banks are also funding the import of other goods worth $318.48m, though further details were not mentioned in the statement. Imported goods are funded through temporary loans to customers, along with documentary credits and collections.
The CBE noted that imports of these goods were funded through granting temporary loans to customers, along with letters of credit and collection documents.
In another context, banks have again raised their exchange rate since the end of last week, after one week of devaluation, to attract dollar holders and eliminate attempts to revive the black market.
The buying price of the greenback climbed above EGP 16 at a number of banks, having fallen to EGP 14.9 earlier. The selling price was moving around EGP 16.5 versus EGP 15.5 earlier this month.