Egypt's foreign currency reserves dipped to the critically low level of $13.6 billion at the end of January, the central bank said Tuesday, a day after it took more steps to prop up its battered currency.The article goes on to mention that Egypt's central bank has reduced the number of currency auctions as well as taking other steps to try and peg the currency value.
The number falls short of the $15 billion in foreign currency that the International Monetary Fund recommends countries maintain to cover imports for three months, adding to Egypt's economic desperation.
The most populous country in the Arab world is on the verge of a liquidity crisis, with street violence and political instability keeping away tourists and foreign investors two years after the country's revolution.
Egyptian policy makers worry that a rapid, disorderly devaluation could widen the country's budget deficit, which rose to 91.5 billion Egyptian pounds ($13.65 billion), or 5.1% of economic output during the last six months of 2012.
The government is now negotiating with the IMF for a much-delayed $4.8 billion loan that could restore confidence in the cratering Egyptian economy.
In a sign of the mounting desperation, Hisham Qandil, Egypt's prime minister, appealed to the nation Monday evening to "stop protesting and start building the homeland" and "switch off your TV sets and get to work instead."