The Citizens Against Price Rises Association (CAPRA) has demanded that Egypt’s Central Bank conduct an investigation into the country’s cement companies, believed to be the largest holders of US dollar reserves in the country.
Mahmoud Al-Asqalani, president of CAPRA, said that the organisation planned to present a memo to Egypt’s Central Bank, highlighting the notion that the country’s cement factories are the biggest holder of US dollars in the Egyptian market, and are the main cause of the currency crisis currently facing the country.
He added that cement companies have reaped $2bn in profits yearly by exporting a total of 65 million tonnes of product to foreign countries such as Spain and Switzerland, despite Egypt’s current need for increased foreign currency reserves.
Abdallah Tawfiq, owner of the Al-Faruq Exchange Company, stated that the price of buying US dollars in Egypt’s banks has risen to EGP 6.85, with the sell price at EGP 6.88, whereas prices on the black market have stabilised at around EGP 7.70 and EGP 7.90, respectively.
He added that the country’s US dollar shortage has pushed importers and exporters to resort to using the black market in order to meet their foreign currency needs, particularly those of US dollars, saying that increases in the price of the dollar in the country’s exchange market will not stop as long as demand increases on the black market.
Tawfiq asked the country’s importers and exporters to refrain from conducting business in foreign currency, and to stop resorting to the country’s black market as a means of meeting their currency needs, until after the price of the dollar has decreased.
Hussein Al-Gabari, president of the Arab World Exchange Company, said that increases in the price of US dollars can be attributed to the chaos and randomness that has come to characterise all aspects of the Egyptian market, pushing the price of dollars up to EGP 8.10. He added that although this price may vary depending on the region, it was nonetheless a historic increase compared to previous trends. He added that the black market had come to dominate the exchange industry in Egypt, as a result of the shortage of US dollars available in banks.