Gov’t fixes customs rate for imports
In an attempt to give importers more clarity when planning shipments and setting prices, the government announced Jan. 17 that the customs exchange rate would be fixed rather than floating from day to day. According to a statement from the finance ministry, the rate was set at LE 18.5 per dollar, based on the average exchange rate between Dec.15 and Jan. 15. A new rate will be set in March. Importers, who had requested a clearer exchange-rate policy, were nonetheless reportedly disappointed by government’s set rate. “They are taking the average rate at the banks, and the dollar may weaken during that month. We were expecting the rate to be at LE 10 per dollar,” said Ahmed Shiha, head of the importers division at the Cairo Chamber of Commerce, talking to Reuters. When the exchange rate was liberalized last November, many importers were left exposed by open dollar-denominated credit lines that were opened when the official value of the pound was set at LE 8.88 they now must be repaid at the muchhigher market rates.