CAIRO — Egypt’s Finance Ministry said on Thursday it would offer $1 billion of one-year treasury bills for auction on Jan. 14, effectively rolling over maturing US dollar-denominated bills from last year.
The new bills will be issued on Jan. 15. Last year’s bills, also totalling $1 billion, are due to mature on Jan. 18.
Foreign reserves have plummeted to $15 billion, or less than three months of import cover, from $36 billion before the uprising.
Egypt has borrowed billions of dollars from foreign governments over the last year to top them up, including $2.5 billion that Qatar deposited with the central bank in December.
Egypt has been seeking a $4.8 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund to shore up its finances, but approval of that loan was postponed after the government delayed some planned tax rises that were part of a reform package.
Meanwhile, The Egyptian pound weakened at a central bank auction of dollars on Thursday, the eighth such sale since it introduced a new regime to reduce pressure on its currency. The bank said the cut-off price at the auction was 6.5099 pounds to the dollar, a 0.47 percent fall from Wednesday when the cut-off price was 6.4797 pounds. The central bank said it had sold $49.1 million at the auction, less than the $50 million it had offered. On the interbank market, the central bank limits trades to a 0.5 percent band above or below the weighted average of bids at the most recent currency auction. The weighted average weakened to 6.5099 pounds to the dollar from 6.4798 on Wednesday. — Reuters