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Egyptian pound drops almost 17% against dollar

On Monday, the Egyptian pound dropped nearly 17 percent in value against the US dollar, following a rise in inflation and amid mounting economic hardships. The local currency in the country already saw a sharp devaluation in 2016 when it lost nearly half its value against the dollar overnight.

The pound was floated at the time as part of a package of reforms in exchange for a $12-billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund. The pound was trading at 18.20 to the dollar by closing time at banks on Monday, from 15.70 the previous day, according to the central bank.

The Finance Ministry announced it will maintain the customs exchange rate at 16 pounds to the dollar, as the local currency continued its freefall. It also announced a package of measures worth about $7 billion to shield society's most vulnerable.

Egypt is bogged down by a sizeable foreign debt bill, that constitutes almost 90 percent of GDP. Although the nation has embarked on fiscal reforms and sought to overhaul the taxation regime, it has struggled to control the informal sector, which constitutes a large portion of the economy.


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