Cairo ATMs run out of foreign banknotes amid Egypt protests

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Several ATMs in downtown Cairo have run dry of foreign banknotes, amid ongoing protests over the rule of President Mohammed Mursi and renewed pressure on the Egyptian pound.

The U.S. dollar sustained its climb against the Egypt’s currency over the past few days, due to shaky markets and renewed fears over the Arab country’s economic outlook. Some forecast that the exchange rate will reach 9 pounds to the dollar, up from around 7 today.

Local resident Amani Mohammed told Al Arabiya she had unsuccessfully spent more than 24 hours searching for an ATM stocked with foreign currency, especially in downtown Cairo.

She was one of dozens who queued for hours waiting for the National Bank of Egypt to restock a nearby ATM with foreign currency in the Sayyidah Zaynab area in Cairo. Having tired of waiting, she moved on to search for other ATMs without success.

The black market in currency, which usually thrives amid economic crises, resumed its activity, according to currency-exchange employee Ahmed Jalal.

Jalal told Al Arabiya there is a special interest in the Saudi riyal, because of the upcoming Umrah season and the month of Ramadan, which starts in less than two weeks.

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