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Egypt central bank to hold largest currency auction yet, $1.3 billion, for vital food imports

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CAIRO - The Central Bank of Egypt will conduct its largest foreign exchange auction yet, selling $1.3 billion to banks with clients who need U.S. dollars to pay for basic imports like wheat, oil, meat and beans.

It is the third auction of its kind, which is also directed at banks whose clients need dollars to import raw industrial materials and pharmaceuticals. The first auction in April released $600 million and a second in May released $800 million.

The central bank said in a statement Tuesday that it would sell the $1.3 billion on Wednesday. The sum is around 11 times more than the bank's usual weekly sale of dollars.

The bank's auction system has helped regulate devaluation of the Egyptian pound, down more than 10 per cent this year.

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