Egypt Banks to Help Clear Import Backlog Within Days, Sisi Says

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(Bloomberg) —

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Egypt’s banks will help secure the necessary dollars to clear a backlog of imports within four days, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said Monday.

The remarks, during a televised event, offered potential end date for an overhang in commodities that’s helped fuel demand for the US currency on the black market.

Officials have been working to clear an import backlog estimated at over $5 billion in December — with goods building up at ports large due to a letter of credit requirement imposed earlier by the central bank but which authorities have vowed to lift soon.

Read also: Egypt Makes Jumbo Rate Hike as Pressure Grows on Pound (1)

The president’s comments come amid expectations of another devaluation in the pound following two earlier ones this year. The International Monetary Fund had repeatedly urged authorities to embrace greater flexibility in the exchange rate — a step that helped Egypt secure a $3 billion package from the Washington-based lender.

Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, speaking at the same event, said around $5 billion worth of commodities had been released from the ports between Dec. 1-23 and that another $9.5 billion in goods remain at the docks.

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