Egypts Mursi replaces central bank chief amid recent speculation

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Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi has named Hisham Ramez, a former deputy central banker, as the new central bank chief after accepting the resignation of Farouk El-Okdah, the government said in a statement on Thursday.

Ramez is expected to assume his duties on Feb. 3 following the approval of the upper house of parliament, it said.

"I am very happy with this civilised transfer," Okda told reporters, according to AFP news agency.

The move follows speculation last month that Ramez had been appointed when reports emerged that Okdah had resigned.

On Dec. 23, Okdah denied earlier reports that he had resigned from his post after Egyptian state TV stated had resigned and that his former deputy Ramez had been appointed to replace him.

There had been regular speculation in the media that Okdah wanted to leave his post.

Okdah helped steer the central bank during last year’s uprising which ousted former President Hosni Mubarak and is credited with helping keep the Egyptian currency relatively stable despite the political turmoil.

Amid the December reports, an unnamed senior Egyptian official told business news site Zawya that Mursi had been in discussions with Ramez.

"Ramez has met with president Morsi and has accepted the appointment, especially since he specializes in management of cash reserves, and has succeeded in stabilizing the foreign exchange market in Egypt over the past few months," the official told Zawya on Dec. 23.

The Egyptian foreign reserves fell from $36 billion before the revolution to $14 billion, the website noted.