Egyptian T-bill sales surge in wake of currency depreciation

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Sales of Egyptian 91-day treasury bills leapt to 87.07 billion Egyptian pounds ($2.94 billion) at an auction on Sunday from 14.67 billion pounds last week, as investors continued to flood back after a sharp fall in the pound against the dollar.

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Sales of 273-day bills, which were also auctioned on Sunday, shot up to 10.72 billion pounds from 135.6 million pounds last week, according to central bank data.

The average yield on the 91-day bills edged up to 20.52 percent from 20.281 percent, while that on the 273-day bills rose to 21.484 percent from 20.949 percent, the central bank said.

The Egyptian pound weakened as low as 32.20 to the dollar on Wednesday from 27.60 at the open, but has since rebounded to 29.65.

At the start of the year, a dollar fetched less than 25 pounds. Until March last year the pound had been held steady at less than 16 to the dollar, nearly 50 percent stronger than its current value.

Egypt has been loosening its dollar peg in jumps, with a view to letting the currency float freely, as it promised the International Monetary Fund under a $3 billion financing deal announced in October.

Egypt has been suffering a shortage of foreign currency since the war in Ukraine hit tourism revenue, raised commodity import bills and led foreign investors to pull more than $20 billion out of the economy.

Sales of 182-day and 364-day treasury bills also surged at an auction on Thursday.

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