Yerevan, 19.September.2018,
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Egypt will allow its currency to float freely

Egypt will float its currency in a move that is expected to see it fall by almost 50% against the dollar.

The price is expected to be around 13 to the US dollar, up from just under nine.

The country's central bank said the move was one of a list of reforms designed to strengthen confidence in the economy.

Egypt's main stock index jumped by more than 8% at the start of Thursday trading.

The central bank has also increased interest rates by 3 percentage points to 14.75%.

Banks will be allowed to open their branches until 9pm and over the weekend to allow more transactions.

Egypt has struggled to attract foreign investment since the political turmoil in 2011 during the so-called Arab Spring.

That has left the country with a shortage of hard currency as officially one dollar would only buy 8.88 Egyptian pounds while the black market priced it far lower.

The bank said in a statement it had moved to a "liberalised exchange rate... to create an environment for a reliable and sustainable supply of foreign currency".

The move is a key requirement of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), from which Egypt is asking for a $12bn loan over three years.

Egypt's economy is the second largest in the Arab world, after Saudi Arabia.

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