A run on Egypt's pound has left foreign currency in short supply and driven some dealers into the streets in search of people with U.S. dollars to sell, spawning a new black market.
The currency's decline was triggered by a political uprising that swept Hosni Mubarak from power in 2011 and it has officially lost 8 percent of its value since Dec. 30.
Black market rates are even weaker, a sign that although the central bank managed to stem the slide in official trade last week, Egyptians are nervous about holding on to pounds.
Some dealers tout discreetly outside regulated foreign exchange bureaux and banks in Cairo, illegally offering a better rate to those looking to sell hard currency.
"There are no dollars. Everyone that walks in asks for dollars but supply is scarce," said one of the dealers.
... Complicating a business climate already weighed down by political unrest, some importers say they are having to source their foreign exchange needs from what they call the parallel or open market.
One senior executive at an Egyptian company that imports goods from abroad said companies were able to source their dollar needs from the black market, but forecast that supply would tighten further in the coming weeks.Egypt is running out of money for bread. Maybe they will try "circuses" to distract their population. Maybe they can use the new F-16s we gave them.