July 12, 2018 / 7:27 AM / 8 months ago

Egypt's Eastern Co raises cigarette prices

CAIRO, July 12 (Reuters) - Egypt’s top cigarette maker, Eastern Tobacco Company, will raise prices by 10 to 15 percent, or 1.5-3 Egyptian pounds ($0.0840-$0.2521), starting on Thursday, Chairman Mohammed Othman Haroun said.

Prices have soared in import-dependent Egypt ever since it floated its pound currency in late 2016 as part of IMF-backed reforms.

In a televised interview late on Wednesday, Haroun said the price hike is intended to cover a new tax imposed by the government to raise money for healthcare services.

Eastern supplies about 70 percent of Egypt’s cigarette market, which Haroun put at about 83 billion cigarettes a year.

Annual headline inflation rose to 14.4 percent in June on the back of new subsidy cuts to fuel and electricity.

$1 = 17.8500 Egyptian pounds Reporting by Eric Knecht and Ahmed Tolba; editing by Jason Neely

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