March 12, 2015 / 11:58 AM / 3 years ago

Egyptian pound steady on official market

CAIRO, March 12 (Reuters) - Egypt’s central bank kept the pound steady at 7.53 pounds to the dollar at a foreign exchange auction on Thursday.

The bank said it had offered $40 million and sold $38.4 million at a cut-off price of 7.5301 pounds per dollar, unchanged from its last auction held on Wednesday.

The central bank has now kept the official exchange rate steady for more than a month after letting the pound weaken in an effort to wipe out black market trading.

Black market traders said activity had fallen dramatically because of that step and a cap the central bank put in place in February on the amount of dollars that could be deposited in banks.

The limit on deposits discourages use of the black market by depriving those who want to exchange dollars outside official channels of a place to keep their funds.

Volatility in the pound has been a major concern to foreign investors who have stayed largely on the sidelines in recent years and are attending an investment conference in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh this weekend.

The rates at which banks are allowed to trade dollars are determined by the results of central bank sales, giving the bank effective control over official exchange rates.

Reporting By Stephen Kalin; editing by Susan Thomas

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