As Egypt Runs Out Of Dollars, Is It Next On The Devaluation Bandwagon?

Tyler Durden's picture

Late on Friday Venezuela shocked the world when instead of reporting an update on the ailing health of its leader, as many expected it would, it announced the official devaluation of its currency, the Bolivar by nearly 50% against the dollar yet still well below the unofficial black market exchange rate. By doing so, it may have set off a chain reaction among the secondary sovereigns in the world, those who have so far stayed away from the "big boys" currency wars, or those waged by the Big 6 "developed world" central banks, in an attempt to also "devalue their way to prosperity" and boost their economies by encouraging exports even as the local population sees a major drop in its purchasing power and living standards. So in the game, where the last player to crush their currency inevitably loses, the question is who is next. The answer may well be America's latest best north African friend, and custodian of the Suez Canal: Egypt.

As Reuters reports, in the ongoing underreported counterrevolution against the Muslim Brotherhood's US-backed regime, the local population is increasingly scrambling to preserve their local-denominated paper wealth by converting it into the same currency that Bernanke is hell bent to crush some by some $85 billion per month. Problem is - Egypt is out of dollars.

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.


"There are no dollars. Everyone that walks in asks for dollars but supply is scarce," said one of the dealers.


The central bank took steps last week to manage the rate including narrowing the pound's trading band. It was last bid at 6.71 to the dollar on Sunday in interbank trade.


That is 13.4 percent weaker than its level on the eve of the uprising that led to Mubarak's downfall, pitching Egypt into two years of turmoil that has scared off tourists and investors.

It is the fear that the weakness in the EGP will only get much worse, that has citizens rushing to hit any USD bids, even if it means black market rates that are drastically higher than the official exchange rate: "On Cairo's streets, one dealer offered to sell dollars at a rate of 6.95 on Thursday - 3.5 percent weaker than the official price. Another asked for 6.89 pounds to the dollar."

Yet where it may get much worse, is that the nation itself may soon run out of dollars. As we reported last week, Egypt's foreign currency reserves have plunged to just $13.6 billion, some 60% less than the $36 billion held at the bank on the eve of the uprising against Mubarak, and below the $15 billion required to cover three months imports.

And while the government itself is at risk of having its foreign trade ground to a halt, the bigger risk is that very soon Egypt will have no choice but to follow in Argentina's footsteps and order a price freeze, or else risk a run on the supermarket:

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.


"Corporates are not having problems arranging for U.S. dollars from the open market. However, there is a spread that ranges between 16 to 20 piasters between the bank rates and the open market," he said.


Speaking on condition of anonymity because he was discussing an illegal market, he forecast that dollar supply would dry up further because of factors such as political uncertainty.


"What will happen? Most probably you will start seeing products disappearing from supermarket shelves," he said. "The challenges that we are facing now are nothing compared to what we could be heading to."

He could well be speaking about the entire developed world. And sadly, there is no simple resolution, because while the Egyptian government may promptly devalue the EGP overnight by some 20%, 40% or more, as Chavez just did, it will merely accelerate the scramble to procure hard assets (in lieu of a hard currency), and further destabilize an economy already on the bring of a second civil war.

And the worst news is that should Egypt indeed devalue just as Venezuela did, it is assured that everyone else in the "less than developed" world category will suddenly scramble to be the next just so they are not the last. What happens then is anyone's guess.

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markettime's picture

I miss friday night chart porn. 

espirit's picture

Me too, as all my other porn sites are being blocked.

At least Gold is gonna' pop!

Manthong's picture

“foreign currency in short supply and driven some dealers into the streets in search of people with U.S. dollars to sell,”

I guess evil is ironic..( ? death to America, ? ).

espirit's picture

Suckers are buying.  Print moar, please?

flacon's picture

"Swipe your EBT, your EBT, your EBT.". He who gets the dollars first (EBT) is richest! 



Coin Show Ghost Town






Tango in the Blight's picture

Note that that article spins the story to plead for a cashless society. It's what the elite wants: total control.

Skateboarder's picture

[ ] Check this box and stock up on essentials in case of runaway Ponzi.

Iam Yue2's picture

Argentina shades it in the betting; with social unrest also highly probable.

CPL's picture

Naw, the 5% tariff will go to 50% which it should be anyways for Egypt.  Besides the Canal is theirs to do with as they please and Egypt doesn't exactly have industrial options to fall back on.  

With everyone printing money, the obvious answer is the market can bare the severe price hike.  

The bozo's will just print more.  If they cry about it, fuck'em.  They can try to get by Somali pirates and see what that costs them.  Egypt should be putting the boots to the rest of OPEC and it's consumers.  It's time to break up OPEC once and for all and Egypt has the leverage.


Manthong's picture

Don’t Cry for Me Alexandria?

At least Egypt has substantial reserves..  of steel.

wee-weed up's picture

CPL said: "the Canal is theirs [Egypt] to do with as they please"

Wanna bet?

Ghordius's picture

Only because Uncle Sam said so in the 50's Suez Crisis

BooMushroom's picture

And they can UNsay it just as easy.

TPTB_r_TBTF's picture

The Egyptians are going to regret placing their country next to our Canal.

CPL's picture

So while trying to keep the rest of MENA region from falling to pieces they are going to pull back a large percentage of their forces to defend a trade route that is functioning perfectly.  The armed forces are next to supply.  Why would they turn around to hold a tiny piece of the map for something as 'fungible' as money.  With only so many resources and their primary European allies individual countries falling to pieces...and Israel isn't in great shape either.  Media controls are tight.

No they'll pay it.  It costs too much to gain so little strategically.  The bases in the middle east are right next to their fuel source, why would they give a shit?  Doesn't effect their capital costs or resource management if people at home pay more.  The localized economies of the middle east are artificial to begin with so why would anyone there care?  They won't. 

For Egypt, it delivers the cost of the consumer far away.  The goal is to move inflation and thereby lower costs locally.  Best way to do that is increase the tariff to match the inflation.  50% This gives the central bank of egypt time to formulate something better than shit it pants stupid and prices stop rising.

Pass the cost to the person that's printing the money.  They were going to print loads of it any ways.  Why should Egypt get totally hosed?

TBT or not TBT's picture

They're going to regret even more not having food to eat.   Half the country "lives" on 2$ a day, and that was before the muzzie nutjobs took over.   Now the egyptian government and media is smoothing the situation by telling egyptians they don't need to eat so much.   The country WILL have a famine, and very soon, without food donations or credit given to buy food, because the foreign currency reserves and foreign currency income are at their end.

Mike in GA's picture

I'd hate to be assigned to guarding the canal from the neighbors. 

BooMushroom's picture

They ought to start demanding food commodities, instead.

1 ton of wheat, 1 ton of soy, 1/2 ton oranges, etc.

CPL's picture

A flat percent is as good 1 ton of wheat, 1 ton of soy, 1/2 ton of oranges. 50% they can move with the commodity cost of oil and hedge inflation by holding it's primary mover.

willwork4food's picture

They make a lot of money whenever a tanker passes through. When a carrier  passes through they receive a million USD, if what was told to me by a navel officer is true. The fact that the US just canceled the Truman for deployment to the ME, will hurt.

CPL's picture

Well, it's obviously not enough then.  Egypt will have to sharpen it's pencil if it wishes for it singular resource to be in business and staffed if it doesn't move to act to benefit the whole of Egypt.  Those dock workers will become targets if they are the only assholes getting paid.

For Egypt to just to buy a couple of months needs to levy 50% on all goods passing through the canal on both weight and cost of frieght.  The flat rate scheme doesn't help anyone and the fact is oil is far to cheap.  It SHOULD be around 380 a barrel, not 100 if giving a conservative estimate relative to other commodities on the market right now.

It'll be artifically low oil costs that break this scheme because it'll cost a fortune in real energy to deliver so little productivity.  Those are the business rules, they can be bent for a while but you end up paying for it.

People discuss printing money as theft from the future, it's true.  Inflation robs everyone that works for a living.

The same can be said for ignoring proper pricing on a limited commodity that moves practically all goods to market somewhere in the supply chain.  The lower cost drives the price of trivial crap.  Everything from the price of ipods to apples to family size.  The reason we are in the situation we are now is because of artifical cost in energy which creates artifically cheap food which increases the population to the current largess the human race is enjoying at the moment.

So Egypt with nearly no agriculture worth mentioning anymore, can't feed it's own population with it's own farming practices, nor could they power the equipment because of the energy costs.  Egypt is in a fatal social decline, I'm talking a couple of year until it's Somali.  The famine as discussed was going to happen anyways, farming systems are breaking down world wide because of really poorly timed weather.  There wasn't going to be anything to ship anyways regardless of 'official' harvest numbers.  First world nations are now delivering meat (horse, goat, etc instead of Grade A beef) that wasn't ordered, to each other.  What is getting shipped to other parts of the world now?

Bleached sawdust in lieu of flour?  Diluted Lye with vanilla flavoring for Soy milk products?  Baby formula cut with concrete and extra 'milk' flavor and salt to cover the concrete goodness?  Ethanol by product waste to substitute for Canola cooking oil?

fonzannoon's picture

Can't we print some for them? It only seems fair.

So as we "flood the world with dollars"...countries are starving for dollars....

Banksters's picture

We(da gov) actually are.   I think obama during the first uprising guaranteed 1 billion, then you have the IMF pumping fiatscos with interest.   But one thing I'm certain about is we are GIVING EGYPT TANKS AND F 16s. 

Egypt Debt Buoyed by Obama Guarantee for Eurobonds: Arab ...

Who is profiting, one company, general dynamics controlled by the Crown family- also Zionists.   Interestingly they were huge Obama backers.


The Crown family: investing in weapons, war ...and Obama | War Is ...



Sen. Rand Paul Amendment: No F-16s to Egypt


CONgress voted no. 


File this under What the FUCK.



Bandit und Buster's picture

ZIONISTAS are in control...moar war! for the bankster Zionist!

"Every time we do something you tell me America will do this and will do that... I want to tell you something very clear: Don't worry about American pressure on Israel. We, the Jewish people, control America, and the Americans know it." -- Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, October 3, 2001

willwork4food's picture

Enter Zionist AIPAC proxy: Pastor John Hagee.

Praise Jesus you mother fucking hypocritical fat turd.



jerry_theking_lawler's picture

i hear there were a couple of C-130's full of $ that went missing in the area.....maybe they could locate those.

goldenrod's picture

Glad to live in a country whose currency is in demand (at least for the time being).


goldenrod's picture

That is why I said "at least for the time being".  I know this is temporary.


Philippines's picture

This happened on Friday...

... And it's only reported on now? I saw this in forums before here. 

Tyler Durden's picture

Are you referring to the article from Friday with 62,000 reads?

luna_man's picture



Well, some learn the hard way...(egg on face)!


one eye open at all times

andrewp111's picture

This makes sense. The "Arab Spring" was caused by high food prices, and those very prices are even higher now. Too bad they can't eat pork.

earleflorida's picture

do a smell a faustian bargain, or is it just the smell of sulfer? 

LibertarianX's picture now we have to start bailing out middle eastern / african countries as well as Europe - i suppose this is our just deserts.... / desserts...

youngman's picture

I see this as a great window of opportunity for the Chines to introduce the new world backed

TBT or not TBT's picture

Well "full faith and credit" was already taken.   Also, they're going to get old before they get rich.   One child policy, central planning and environmental destruction helping out with that.   Oh, and a huge imbalance of males over females, thanks to infanticide of females, and more recently, abortion of females.

Notarocketscientist's picture

Very good of you to point out that the reason for riots on the streets is due to the fact that the CIA has installed another puppet - Morsi.

Most of the world does not understand this - but every single Egyptian knows what is going on - and they will die before they allow another US backed MONSTER take their country.

SheepleLOVEcheddarbaybiscuits's picture

Jack Lew was at citi in 07-08, Took 2.65mn pay as the economy collapsed. Now this cocksucker is sec of treasury?! Someone please wake me up.

espirit's picture

It's a known fact that criminals only trust other criminals, but only at arms length.

Atomizer's picture

Too funny. Here comes the manufactured crisis mode. We installed the wrong global partner’s into this region. We must go back and bomb the fuck out of them. They're terrorist, even though we handpicked the bunch to manage our new global trading hub.

espirit's picture

We have to make sure that everybody has drones first.  Sell them, or give them to Iranians to reverse engineer (bidness to China), then there is at least some plausible deniability it was us that bombed the fuck out of them.

Atomizer's picture

You forgot to use the proper MSM newspeak word…


Foreign aid

Michelle's picture

When things in this insane world were much too calm for even sane people to understand...

When even Roubini and Meredith Whitney had turned bullish...

When all the suckers foolishly believed that markets can never go down because of the Bernanke put...

Somebody had to do something to get the blood pumping again!

Got popcorn?



Segestan's picture

50 years of banksters and liberals with a vision of the future ( NWO) has done more damage than they could imagine.

besnook's picture

or china could fill the gap with a boatload of yuan.

andrewp111's picture

China isn't in the charity business. Perhaps if Egypt was willing to sell the canal, China might be interested.