Egypt central bank shuts down so far 47 currency exchange bureaus

Egypt’s central bank has shut down and revoked the licences of 47 foreign exchange bureaus so far after finding them guilty of manipulating and speculating on the prices of foreign currencies. This comes after the central bank suspended five foreign exchange bureaus on Monday.

Of the currency exchange bureaus closed, a total of 26 have been closed permanently and their licences revoked. The rest of the bureaus are shut for six, eight or twelve months, according to their violations.

Monday’s decision included the suspension of three bureaus for one year, namely el-Gawhara, al-Malek and al-Fardous. The Egyptian Saudi Bureau was suspended for 8 months, while Alexandria Exchange Office faces a six-month suspension.

According to state run news agency MENA, the total number of foreign exchange bureaus that have recently had their licenses revoked stood at 26, while 21 offices have faced temporary suspension.

Earlier in August, the central bank shut down 10 foreign exchange offices for a year after they were found guilty of repeatedly manipulating and speculating on the price of the US dollar in the country’s parallel currency market.

Egypt is facing a dollar shortage with sources of hard currency inflows like tourism and investment slowing down. Driven by the shortage, rates on the black market reached unprecedented levels of 13 to the dollar in July while banks kept the pound steady at 8.88.

But the pound was strengthened to a range between 12.40- 12.70 after the government announced that it is in talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to secure a $12 billion loan.